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Vol. II. 


Ilea ij^Ma^^'^ 






Vol. II. 


an l^tgtoncal Bobel 










Vol. II. 



Iti Jkbxmiah Cdrtu. 



The war with cannon was no bar to negotiations, which 
the fathers determined to use at every opportunity. They 
wished to delude the enemy and procrastinate till aid came, 
or at least severe winter. But Miller did not cease to 
believe that the monks wished merely to extort the best 

In the evening, therefore, after that cannonading, he sent 
Colonel Kuklinovski again with a summons to surrender. 
The prior showed Kuklinovski the safeguard of the king, 
which closed his mouth at once. But Miller had a later 
command of the king to occupy Boleslav, Vyelunie, Kjepits, 
and Chenstohova. 

"Take this order to them," said he to Kuklinovski ; " for 
I think that they will lack means of evasion when it is 
shown them." But he was deceived. 

The prior answered : "If the command includes Chensto- 
hova, let the general occupy the place with good fortune. 
He may be sure that the cloister will make no opposition ; 
but Chenstohova is not Yasna Gora, of which no mention is 
made in the order." 

When Miller heard this answer he saw that he had to 
deal with diplomats more adroit than himself ; reasons 
were just what he lacked, — and there remained only 

A truce lasted through the night. The Swedes worked 
with vigor at making better trenches ; and on Yasna Gora 
they looked for the damages of the previous day, and saw 
with astonishment that there were none. Here and there 
roofs and rafters were broken, here and there plaster had 
dropped from the walls, — that was all. Of the men, none 
had fallen, no one was even maimed. The prior, going 
around on the walls, said with a smile to the soldiers, — 

VOL. II. — 1 


" But see, this enemy with bis iKimbarJing is not so 
terrible as reported. After a festiv:il there is uften more 
harm done. God's care is guarding yuu; Ood's hand pro- 
tects you ; only let us endure, and we shall see greater 

Sunday came, the festival of the offering of the Holy 
Lady. There was no hindrance to services, sinoe Miller 
waa waiting for the final answer, which the monks had 
promised to send after midday. 

Mindful meanwhile of tlie words of Scripture, how 
Israel bore the ark of God around the camp to terrify 
the Philistines, they went again in procession with the 

The letter was sent about one o 'clock, not to surrender ; 
but to repeat the answer giveu Kuklinovski, that the 
church and the cloister are called Yasna Gora, and that 
the town Chenstoliova does not belong to the cloister at 
all. " Therefore we implore t^arnestly his worthiness," 
wrote the prior Kordetski, "to be pleased to leave in peace 
our Congregation and the church consecrated to God and 
His Most Holy Mother, so that God may be honored therein 
during future times. In this church also we shall implore 
the Majesty of God for the health and success of the Most 
Sererfe King of Sweden. Meanwliile we, miwoi-thy men, 
while preferring our request, commend ourselves most 
earnestly to the kindly consideration of your worthiness, 
confiding in your goodness, from which we promise much to 
ourselves in the future." 

There were present at the reading of tho letter, Sadovski ; 
Count Veyhard; Horn, governor of Kjepitsi; De B'ossis, a 
famous engineer; and the Prince of He.'ise, a man young 
and very haughty, who though subordinate to Miller, was 
willing to show his own importance. He laughed therefore 
maliciously, and repeated the conclusion of the letter with 
emphasis, — 

"They promise much to themselves from yonr kindness ; 
General, that is a hint for a contribution. I pot one ques- 
tion, gentlemen ■ Are the monks better beggars or better 
gunners ? " 

"True," said Horn, " during these first days we have lost 
so many men that a good battle would not have taken 

"As for me," continued the Prince of Hesse, " I do not 
want money ; I am not seeking for glory, and 1 shall freeze 


off ray feet in these huts. What a pity that we did not go 
to Prussia, a rich country, pleasant, one town excelling 

Miller, who acted quickly but thought slowly, now first 
understood the sense of the letter; he grew purple and 
said, — 

" The monks are jeering at us, gracious gentlemen." 

" They had not the intention of doing so, but it comes 
out all the same," answered Horn. 

" To the trenches, then ! Yesterday the fire was weak, 
the balls few." 

The orders given flew swiftly from end to end of the 
Swedish line. The trenches were covered with blue clouds ; 
the cloister answered quickly with all its energy. But this 
time the Swedish guns were better planted, and began to 
cause greater damage. Bombs, loaded with powder, were 
scattered, each drawing behind it a curl of flame. Lighted 
torches were hurled too, and rolls of hemp steeped in 

As sometimes flocks of passing cranes, tired from long 
flying, besiege a high cliff, so swarms of these fiery messen- 
gers fell on the summit of the church and on the wooden 
roofs of the buildings. Whoso was not taking part in the 
struggle, was near a cannon, was sitting on a roof. Some 
dipped water from wells, others drew up the buckets with 
ropes, while third parties put out fire with wet cloths. 
Balls crashing rafters and beams fell into garrets, and soon 
smoke and the odor of burning filled all the interior of 
buildings. But in garrets, too, defenders were watching 
with buckets of water. -The heaviest bombs burst even 
through ceilings. In spite of efforts more than human, in 
spite of wakefulness, it seemed that, early or late, flames 
would embrace the whole cloister. Torches and bundles of 
hemp pushed with hooks from the roofs formed burning 
piles at the foot of the walls. Windows were bursting 
from heat, and women and children confined in rooms were 
stifling from smoke and exhalations. Hardly were some 
missiles extinguished, hardly was the water flowing in 
broken places, when there came new flocks of burning balls, 
flaming cloths, sparks, living fire. The whole cloister was 
seized with it. You would have said that heaven had 
opened on the place, and that a shower of thunders was 
falling ; still it burned, but was not consumed ; it was 
flaming, but did not fall into fragments ; what was more, 


the besieged began to sing like those youths in the fiery 
furnace ; for, as the day previous, a song was now heard 
from the tower, accompanied by trumpets. To the men 
standing on the walls and working at the guns, who at each 
moment might think that all was blazing and falling to 
ruins behind their shoulders, that song was like healing 
balsam, announcing continually that the church was stand- 
ing, that the cloister was standing, that so far flames had 
not vanquished the efforts of men. Hence it became a 
custom to sweeten with such harmony the suffering of the 
siege, and to keep removed from the ears of women the 
terrible shouts of raging soldiery. 

But in the Swedish camp that singing and music made 
no small impression. The soldiers in the trenches heard it 
at first with wonder, then with superstitious dread. 

" How is it," said they to one another, " we have cast so 
much fire and iron at that hen-house that more than one 
powerful fortress would have flown away in smoke and 
ashes, but they are playing joyously? What does this 
mean ? " 

" Enchantment ! " said others. 

" Balls do not harm those walls. Bombs roll down from 
the roofs as if they were empty kegs ! Enchantment, enchant- 
ment ! " repeated they. " Nothing good will meet us in this 

The officers in fact were ready to ascribe some mysterious 
meaning to those sounds. But others interpreted differently, 
and Sadovski said aloud, so that Miller might hear : " They 
must feel well there, since they rejoice ; or are they glad 
because we have spent so much powder for nothing ? " 

"Of which we have not too much," added the Prince of 

" But we have as leader Poliorcetes," said Sadovski, in 
such a tone that it could not be understood whether he was 
ridiculing or flattering Miller. But the latter evidently took 
it as ridicule, for he bit his mustache. 

" We shall see whether they will be playing an hour later," 
said he, turning to his staff. 

Miller gave orders to double the fire, but these orders were 
carried out over-zealously. In their hurry, the gunners 
pointed the cannons too high, and the result was they carried 
too far. Some of tlie balls, soarini; above the church and the 
cloister, went to the Swedish trenc-lios on the opposite side, 
smashing timber works, scattering baskets, killing men. 



An hour passed ; then a second. From the church tower 
came solemn music unbroken. 

Miller stood with his glass turned on Chenstohova. He 
looked a long time. Those present noticed that the hand 
with which he held the glass to his eyes trembled more and 
more ; at last he turned and cried, — 

"The shots do not injure the church one whit!" And 
anger, unrestrained, mad, seized the old warrior. He hurled 
the glass to the earth, and it broke into pieces. " I shall 
go wild from this music ! " roared he. 

At that moment De Fossis, the engineer, galloped up. 
"General," said he, "it is impossible to make a mine. 
Under a layer of earth lies rock. There miners are 

Miller used an oath. But he had not finished the im- 
precation when another officer came with a rush from the 
Chenstohova entrenchment, and saluting, said, — 

" Our largest gun has burst. Shall we bring others from 
Lgota ? " 

Fire had slackened somewhat ; the musi(i was heard with 
more and more solemnity. Miller rode off to his quarters 
without saying a word. But he gave no orders to slacken 
the struggle ; he determined to worry the besieged. They 
had in the fortress barely two hundred men as garrison j he 
had continual relays of fresh soldiers. 

Night came, the guns thundered unceasingly ; but the 
cloister guns answered actively, — more actively indeed 
than during the day, for the Swedish camp-fires showed them 
ready work. More than once it happened that soldiers had 
barely sat around the fire and the kettle hanging over it, 
when a ball from the cloister flew to them out of the dark- 
ness, like an angel of death. The fire was scattered to 
splinters and sparks, the soldiers ran apart with unearthly 
cries, and either sought refuge with other comrades, or wan- 
dered through the night, chilled, hungry, and frightened. 

About midnight the fire from the cloister increased tc 
such force that within reach of a cannon not a stick could 
be kindled. The besieged seemed to speak in the language 
of cannons the following words: "You wish to wear us 
out, — try it ! We challenge you ! " 

One o'clock struck, and two. A fine rain began to fall in 
the form of cold mist, but piercing, and in places thickened 
as if into pillars, columns and bridges seeming red from 
the light of the Are. Through these fantastic arcades and 


pillars were seen at times the threatening outlines of the 
cloister, which changed before the eye ; at one time it seemed 
higher than usual, then again it fell away as if in an abyss. 
From the trenches to its walls stretched as it were ill- 
omened arches and corridors formed of darkness and mist, 
and through those corridors flew balls bearing death; at 
times all the air above the cloister seemed clear as if illu- 
mined by a lightning flash ; the walls, the lofty works, and 
the towers were all outlined in brightness, then again they 
wore quenched. The soldiers looked before them with super- 
stitious and gloomy dread. Time after time one pushed 
another and whispered, — 

"Hast seen it? This cloister appears and vanishes in 
turn. . That is a power not human." 

"I saw something blotter than that," answered the other, 
"We were aiming with that gun that burst, when in a mo- 
ment the whole fortress began to jump and quiver, as if 
some one were raising and lowering it. Fire at such a 
fortress ; hit it ! " 

The soldier then threw aside the cannon brush, and after 
a while added, — 

" We can win nothing here ! We shall never smell their 
treasures. Brr, it is cold ! Have you the tar-bucket there '! 
Set fire to it ; we can even warm our hands," 

One of the soldiers started to light the tar by means of a 
sulphured thread. He ignited the sulphur first, then began 
to let it down slowly. 

" Put out that light ! " sounded the voice of an officer. But 
almost the same instant was heard the noise of a ball ; then 
a short cry, and the light was put out. 

The night brought the Swedes heavy losses. A multitude 
of men perished at the camp-fires; in pl.icos regiments fell 
into such disorder that they could not form line before 
morning. The besieged, as if wishing to show that they 
needed no sleep, fired with increasing rapidity. 

The dawn lighted tired faces ou the walls, pale, sleepless, 
but onliveued by feverishness. Kordetski had lain in the 
form of a cross in the church all night ; with <layliglit he 
appeared on the walls, and his pleasant voice wsva heard at 
the cannon, in the curtains, and near the gate's. 

" God is forming the day, my children," said he. '■ Blessed 
be His light. There is no damage in the church, none in tlie 
buildings. The tire is put out, no one has lost his life. 
Fan Mosinski, a fiery ball fell under the cradle of your little 


child, and was quenched, causing no harm. Give thanks to 
the Most Holy Lady ; repay her." 

^^ May Her name be blessed/' said Mosinski ; '* I serve as 
I can." 

The prior went farther. 

It had become bright day when he stood near Charnyetski 
and Kmita. He did not see Kmita ; for he had crawled to 
the other side to examine the woodwork, which a Swedish 
ball had harmed somewhat. The prior asked straightway, — 

" But where is Babinich ? Is he not sleeping ? " 

" I, sleep in such a night as this ! ^' answered Pan Andrei, 
climbing up on the wall. "I should have no conscience. 
Better watch as an orderly of the Most Holy Lady." 

" Better, better, faithful servant ! " answor.^d Kordetski. 

Pan Andrei saw at that moment a faint Swedish light 
gleaming, and immediately he cried, — 

" Fire, there, fire ! Aim ! higher ! at the dog-brothers ! " 

Kordetski smiled, seeing such zeal, and returned to the 
cloister to send to the wearied men a drink made of beer 
with pieces of cheese broken in it. 

Half an hour later appeared women, priests, and old men 
of the church, bringing steaming pots and jugs. The sol- 
diers seized these with alacrity, and soon was heard along 
all the walls eager drinking. They praised the drink, 
saying, -- 

" We are not forgotten in the service of the Most Holy 
Lady. We have good food." 

" It is worse for the Swedes," added others. " It was 
hard for them to cook food the past night ; it will be worse 
the night coming." 

" They have enough, the dog-faiths. They will surely give 
themselves and us rest during the day. Their poor guns 
must be hoarse by this time from roaring continually." 

But the soldiers were mistaken, for the day was not to 
bring rest. When, in the morning, officers coming with the 
reports informed Miller that the result of the night's can- 
nonading was nothing, that in fact the nij^^ht had brought the 
Swedes a considerable loss in men, the general was stubborn 
and gave command to continue cannonading. ** They will 
grow tired at last," said he to the Prince of Hesse. 

" This is an immense outlay of powder," answered that 

" But they burn powder too ? '' 

" They must have endless supplies of saltpetre and sul- 


phur, and we shall give them charcoal ourselves, it we are 
able to burn even oue booth. In the night I went near the 
walls, and in spite of the thunder, I heard a mill clearly, 
that must be a powder-mill." 

" I will give orders to cannonade as fiercely as yesterday, 
till sunset. We will rest for the night. We shall see if an 
embassy does not come out." 

"Your worthiness knows that they have sent one to 
Witteniberg ? " 

" I know ; I will send too for the lai^est cannons. If it 
is impossible to frighten the monks or to raise a fire inside 
the fortress, we must make a breach." 

"I hoi>e, your worthluess, that the field-marshal will ap- 
prove the siege." 

"The field-marshal knows of my intention, and he has 
said nothing," replied Miller, dryly. "If failure pursues 
me still farther, tlie field-marshal will give censure instead 
of approval, and will not fail to lay all the blanie at my 
door. The king will say he is right, — I know that. I have 
silvered not a little from the fi(>ld-niarshal's sullen humor, 
just as if 'tis my fault that he, as the Italians state, is con- 
sumed by mal francese." 

"That they will throw the blame on you I donbt not, 
especially when it appears that Sadovich is right" 

" How right ? Sadovich speaks for those monks as if he 
were hired by them. What does he say ? " 

"He says that these shots will be hoard through the 
whole country, from the Carpathians to the Baltic." 

"Let the king command in such case to tear the skin 
from Count Veyhard and send it as an offering to the 
cloister; for he it is who instigated to this siege." 

Here Miller seized his head. 

"But it is necessary to finish at a blow. It seems to me, 
something tells me, that in the night they will send some 
one to negotiate ; meanwhile fire after fire ! " 

The daj' jiassed then as the day previous, full of thunder, 
smoke, and flames. Many such were to pass yet over Yasna 
Gora. But the defenders quenched the conflagrations and 
cannonaded no less bravely. One half the soldiers went to 
rest, the other half were on the walls at the guns. 

The people began to grow accustomed to the unbroken 
roar, especially when convinced that no great damage was 
done. Faith strengthened the less experienced ; but among 
them were old soldiers, acquainted with war, who per- 


formed their service as a trade. These gave comfort to 
the villagers. 

Soroka acquired much consideration among them ; for, 
having spent a great part of his life in war, he was as in- 
different to its uproar as an old innkeeper to the shouts of 
carousers. In the evening when the guns had grown silent 
he told his comrades of the siege of Zbaraj. He had not 
been there in person, but he knew of it minutely from sol- 
diers who had gone through that siege and had told him. 

" There rolled on Cossacks, Tartars, and Turks, so many 
that there were more under-cooks there than all the Swedes 
that are here. And still our people did not yield to them. 
Besides, evil spirits have no power here ; but there it was 
only Friday, Saturday, and Sunday that the devils did not 
help the ruffians; the rest of the time they terrified our 
people whole nights. They sent Death to the breastworks 
to appear to the soldiers and take from them courage for 
battle. I know this from a man who saw Death himself." 

" Did he see her ? " asked with curiosity peasants gather- 
ing around the sergeant. 

"With his own eyes. He was going from digging a 
well ; for water was lacking, and what was in the ponds 
smelt badly. He was going, going, till he saw walking 
in front of him some kind of figure in a black mantle." 

"In a black, not in a white one ? " 

" In black ; in war Death dresses in black. It was grow- 
ing dark, the soldier came up. * Who is here ? ' inquired he 
— no answer. Then he pulled the mantle, looked, and saw 
a skeleton. 'But what art thou here for ? ' asked the soldier. 
* I am Death,' was the answer ; ' and I am coming for thee 
in a week.' The soldier thought that was bad. ^Why,' 
asked he, ' in a week, and not sooner ? Art thou not free 
to come sooner ? ' The other said : ' I can do nothing be- 
fore a week, for such is the order.' " 

"The soldier thought to himself: * That is hard ; but if 
she can do nothing to me now, I '11 pay her what I owe.' 
Winding Death up in the mantle, he began to beat her bones 
on the pebbles ; but she cried and begged : * I '11 come in two 
weeks ! ' * Impossible.' ' In three, four, ten. when the siege 
is over ; a year, two, fifteen — ' * Impossible.' ' I '11 come 
in fifty years.' The soldier was pleased, for he was then 
fifty, and thought : ' A hundred years is enough ; I '11 let 
her go.' The man is living this minute, and well ; he goes 
to a battle as to a dance, for what does be care ? " 


" But if he had been frightened, it would have been all 
over witli him ? " 

" The worst is to fear Death," said Soroka, with impor- 
tance. " Thia soldier did good to othei-s too ; for aftt^r he 
had beaten Death, he hurt her so th;it she was fainting for 
three daya, and during that time no one fell lu camp, though 
sorties were made:" 

" But we never go out at night against the Swedes," 

" We have n't the head for it," answered Soroka, 

The last question and answer were heard by Kmita, who 
was standing not far away, and he struck his head. Then 
he looked at tlie Swedish trenches. It was already night. 
At the trenches for an hour past deep sileuce had reigned. 
The wearied soldiers were seemingly sleeping at the guns. 

At two can non-shots' distance gleamed a number of fires; 
but at the trenches themselves was thick darkness. 

"That will not enter their beads, nor the suspicion of it, 
and they cannot suppose it," whispered Kmita to himself. 

He went straight to Oharnyetski, who, sitting at the gun- 
carriage, was reading his rosary, and striking one foot 
against the other, for both feet were cold. 

"Cold," said he, seeing Kmita; ";ind my head is heavy 
from the thunder of two days and one night. In my ears 
there is continual ringing." 

" In whose head would it not ring from such uproars ? 
But to^iay we shall rest. They have gone to sleep for 
good. It would be possible to surprise them like a 
bear in a den ; I know not whether guns would rouse 

" Oh," said Charnyetski, raising his head, " of what are 
you- thinking?" 

"1 am thinking of Zbaraj, how the besieged inflicted 
with sorties more than one great defeat on the rutBans." 

" You are thinking of blood, like a wolf in the night." 

"By the living God and his wounds, let us make a 
sortie ! We will cut down men, spike guns ! They expect 
no attack." 

Ohaniyetski sprang to his feet. 

"' And in the morning they will go wild. They imagine, 
perhaps, that they have frightened us enough and we are 
thinking of surrender; they will get their answer. As I 
love God, 'tis a splendid idea, a real knigiilly deed ! That 
should have come to my hi'iul too. Out it is needful to tell 
all to K^ordetski, for he is commander." 


They went 

Kordetski was taking counsel in the chamber with Zamoy- 
ski. When he heard steps, he raised his voice and pushing 
a candle to one side, inquired, — 

" Who is coming ? Is there anything new ? " 

" It is I, Charnyetski," replied Pan Pyotr, *' with me is 
Babinich; neither of us can sleep. We have a terrible 
odor of the Swedes. This Babinich, father, has a restless 
head and cannot stay in one place. He is boring me, bor- 
ing ; for he wants terribly to go to the Swedes beyond the 
walls to ask them if they will fire to-morrow also, or give 
us and themselves time to breathe." 

" How is that ? " inquired the prior, not concealing his 
astonishment. '^ Babinich wants to make a sortie from the 
fortress ? " 

" In company, in comp>any," answered Charnyetski, hur- 
riedly, "with me and some others. They, it seems, are 
sleeping like dead men at the trenches ; there is no fire 
visible, no sentries to be seen. They trust over much 
in our weakness." 

"We will spike the guns," said Kmita. 

" Give that Babinich this way ! " exclaimed Zaraoyski ; 
" let me embrace him ! The sting is itching, O hornet ! 
thou wouldst gladly sting even at night. This is a great 
undertaking, which may have the finest results. God gave 
us only one Lithuanian, but that one an enraged and biting 
beast. I applaud the design ; no one here will find fault 
with it. I am ready to go myself." 

Kordetski at first was alarmed, for he feared bloodshed, 
especially when his own life was not exposed ; after he had 
examined the idea more closely, he recognized it as worthy 
of the defenders. 

" Let me pray," said he. And kneeling before the image 
of the Mother of God, he prayed a while, with outspread 
arms, and then rose with serene face. 

"Pray you as well," said he j "and tlien go." 

A quarter of an hour later the four wont out and repaired 
to the walls. The trenches in the distance were sleeping. 
The night was very dark. 

" How many men will you take ? " asked Kordetski of 

" I ? " answered Pan Andrei, in surprise. " I am not 
leader, and I do not know the place so well as Pan Charn- 
yetski. 1 will go with my sabre, but let Charnyetski lead 


the men, and me with tlie others ; I only wish to bare m; 
801-oka go, for he can hew terribly." 

This answer pleascil Iwth Charuyetski and the prior, for 
they saw in it clear proof of submission. They set about 
the affair briskly. 5len were selected, the greatest silence 
was enjoined, and they began to remove the beams, stones, 
and bi-ick from the passage in tlic wall. 

This labor lasted about an hour. At length the opening 
was ready, and the men began to dive into the narrow jaws. 
They bad sabres, pistols, guns, and some, namely peasant.^, 
had scythes with jwints downwai-d, — a weapon with which 
they wei-e best acquainted. 

When outside the wall they organized ; Charnyetski stood 
at the head of the party, Kinita at the flank ; and they 
moved along the ditch silently, restraining the breath in 
their breasts, like wolves stealing up to a .slieepfold, 

Still, at times a scythe struck a scythe, at times a stone 
gritted under a foot, and by those noises it was ijossible to 
know that they were pushing forward unceasingly' ^\'hen 
they had come down to the plain, Charnyetski halted, and, 
not far from the enemy's trenches, left some of his men, 
under command of Yanich, a Hungarian, an old, experienced 
soldier ; these men he commanded to lie on the ground. 
Charnyetski himself advanced somewhat to the right, and 
having now under foot soft earth which gave out no echo, 
began to lead ibrward his party more swiftly. His plan was 
to pass around the iutroiichnicnt, strike on the sleeping 
Swedes from the rear, and push them toward the cloister 
against Yanich's men. This idea was suggested by 
Kmita, who now marching near him with sabre m hand, 
whispered, — 

" The intrenchment is extended in snch fashion that be- 
tween it and the main camp there is open ground. Sentries, 
if there are any, are before the trenches and not on this 
side of it, .so that we can go behind freely, and attack them 
on the side from which they least expect attack." 

" Tliat is well," said Charnyetski ; " not a foot of those 
men should escape." 

'■If any one speaks when we enter," continued Pan 
Andrei, "let me answer; I can speak German as well as 
I'olish; they will think that some one is coming from 
Miller, from the camp." 

" If only there are no sentries behind the intrench- 


"Even if there are, we shall spring on in a moment; 
before they can understand who and what, we shall have 
them down.'' 

" It is time to turn, the end of the trench can be seen," 
said Charnyetski; and turning he called softly, "To the 
right, to the right ! " 

The silent line began to bend. That moment the moon 
lighted a bank of clouds somewhat, and it grew clearer. 
The advancing men saw an empty space in the rear of the 

As Kmita had foreseen, there were no sentries whatever 
on that space ; for why should the Swedes station sentries 
between their trenches and their own army, stationed in the 
rear of the trenches. The most sharp-sighted leader could 
not suspect danger from that side. 

At that moment Charnyetski said in the lowest whisper : 
" Tents are now visible. And in two of them are lights. 
People are still awake there, — surely officers. Entrance 
from the rear must be easy." 

"Evidently," answered Kmita. "Over that road they 
draw cannon, and by it troops enter. The bank is already 
at hand. Have a care now that arms do not clatter." 

They had reached the elevation raised carefully with 
earth dug from so many trenches. A whole line of wagons 
was standing there, in which powder and balls had been 

But at the wagons, no man was watching ; passing them, 
therefore, they began to climb the embankment without 
trouble, as they had justly foreseen, for it was gradual and 
well raised. 

In this manner they went right to the tents, and with 
drawn weapons stood straight in front of thom. In two of 
the tents lights were actually burning ; therefore Kmita said 
to Charnyetski, — 

"I will go in advance to those who are not sleeping. 
Wait for my pistol, and then on the enemy ! " When he 
had said this, he went forward. 

The success of the sortie was already assured ; therefore 
he did not try to go in very great silence. He passed a few 
tents buried in darkness ; no one woke, no one inquired, 
"Who is there?" 

The soldiers of Yasna Gora heard the squeak of his 
daring steps and the beating of their own hearts. He 
reached the lighted tent, raised the curtain and entered, 


halted at the entrance with pistol in hand and sabre down 
oa its strap. 

He halted because the light dazzled him somewhat j for 
on the camp table stood a candlestick with six arms, in 
which bright lights were biirnini,'. 

At the table were sitting three officers, bent over plans. 
One of them, sitting in the middle, was poring over these 
plans so intently that his long hair lay on the white paper. 
Seeing some one enter, he raised his head, aud asked in a 
calm voice, — 

" Who is there ? " 

" A soldier," answered Kmita. 

That moment the two other officers turned their eyes 
toward the entrance. 

" What soldier, where from ? " asked the first, who was 
De Fossis, the officer who chiefly directed the siege. 

" From the cloister," answered Kmita. But there was 
something terrible in his voice. 

De Fossis rose quickly and shaded his eyes with his hand. 
Kmita was standing erect and motionless as an apparition ; 
only the threatening face, like the head of a predatory bird, 
announced sudden danger. 

Still the thought, quick as lightning, rushed through the 
head of De Fossis, that he might be a deserter from Yasna 
Gora; therefore he asked again, but excitedly, — 

" What do you want ? " 

" I want this ! " cried Kmita ; and he fired from a pistol 
into the very breast of De Fossis. 

With that a terrible shout and a salvo of shots was 
heard on the trench. De Fossi.'i ffll as falls a pine-tree 
struck by lightning; another officer rushed at Kmita with 
his sword, but the latter slashed hiiu between the eyes 
with his sabre, which gritted on the bone ; the third officer 
threw himself on the ground, wishing to slip out under the 
side of the tent, but Kmita sprang at him, put his foot on 
his shoulder, and nailed htm to the earth with a thrust. 

By this time the silence of night had turned into the day 
of judgment. Wild shouts : " Slay, kill ! " were mingled with 
howls and shrill calls of Swedish soldiers tor aid. Men he- 
wildered from terror rushed out of the tents, not knowing 
whither to turn, in what direction to flee. Some, without 
noting at once whence the attiick came, ran straight to the 
enemy, and perished unrlor sabres, scythes, and axes, before 
they had time to cry " Quarter 1 " Some in the darkness 


stabbed their own comrades ; others unarmed, half-dressed, 
without caps, with hands raised upward, stood motionless 
on one spot ; ' some at last dropped on the earth among the 
overturned tents. A small handful wished to defend them- 
selves ; but a blinded throng bore them away, threw them 
down, and trampled them. 

Groans of the dying and heart-rending prayers for quarter 
increased the confusion. 

When at last it grew clear from the cries that the attack 
had come, not from the side of the cloister, but from the rear, 
just from the direction of the Swedish army, then real des- 
peration seized the attacked. They judged evidently that 
some squadrons, allies of the cloister, had struck on them 

Crowds of infantry began to spring out of the intrench- 
ment and run toward the cloister, as if they wished to find 
refuge within its walls. But soon new shouts showed that 
they had come upon the party of the Hungarian, Yanich, 
who finished them under the very fortress. 

Meanwhile the cloister-men, slashing, thrusting, tramp- 
ling, advanced toward the cannons. Men with spikes ready, 
rushed at them immediately ; but others continued the work 
of death. Peasants, who would not have stood before 
trained soldiers in the open field, rushed now a handful 
at a crowd. 

Valiant Colonel Horn, governor of Kjepitsi, endeavored 
to rally the fleeing soldiers ; springing into a corner of the 
trench, he shouted in the darkness and waved his sword. 
The Swedes recognized him and began at once to assemble ; 
but in their tracks and with them rushed the attackers, 
whom it was difficult to distinguish in the darkness. 

At once was heard a terrible whistle of scythes, and the 
voice of Horn ceased in a moment. Th(» crowd of soldiers 
scattered as if driven apart by a bomb. Kniita and Charn- 
yetski rushed after them with a few people, and cut them 
to pieces. 

The trench was taken. 

In the main camp of the Swedes trumpets sounded the 
alarm. Straightway the guns of Yasna Gora gave answer, 
and fiery balls began to fly from the cloister to light up the 
way for the home-coming men. They came panting, bloody, 
like wolves who had made a slaughter in a sheepfold ; they 
were retreating before the approaching sound of nuisketeerSc 
Chamyetski led the van, Kmita brought up the rear. 


In half an hour they readied the party left with Yanich ; 
but he did not answer their call - he alone had paid for the 
sortie with his life, for when he rushed after some officer, 
his own soldiers shot him. 

The party entered the cloister amid the thunder of can- 
non and the gleam of flames. At the entrance the prior 
was waiting, and he counted them in order as the heads 
were pushr'd in through the opening. No one was missing 
save Yanich. 

Two men went out for him at once, and half an hour 
later they brought his body ; for Kordetaki wished to honor 
him with a fitting burial. 

But the quiet of night, once broken, did not return till 
white day. From the walls cannon were playing; in the 
Swedish positions the greatest confusion continued. The 
enemy not knowing well their own losses, not knowing 
whence the ajjgressor might come, fled from the trenches 
nearest the cloister. Whole regiments wandered in des- 
pairing disorder till morning, mistiiking frequently their 
own for the enemy, and firing at one another. Even in the 
main camp were soliliers and officers who abandoned their 
tents and remained under the Oi>en sky, awaiting the end of 
that ghastly night. Alarming news flew from mouth to 
mouth. Some said that succor had come tu the fortress, 
others asserted that all the nearer lutrenchments were 

Miller, Sadovski, the I'rince of Ups.sp, Count Veyhard, 
and other superior officers, ]ua<:le sui)crliuman exertions to 
bring the terrified regiments to order. At the same time the 
cannonade of the cloister was answered by balls of fire, to 
scatter the darkness and enable fugitivt^s to assi'nible. One 
of the balls struck the roof of the ehapel, but striking only 
the edge of it, returned with rattling and crackling toward 
the camp, casting a flood of flame through the air. 

At last the night of tumult wsis ended. The cloister and 
the Swedish cainp l>e('ame still. Morning had begun to 
whiten the summits of the church, the roofs took on gradu- 
ally a ruddy light, and day came. 

In that hour Miller, at the head of his staff, rode to the 
captured trench. They could, it is true, sec him from the 
cloister and 0))en fire ; but the old geuenil cared not for that. 
He wished to see with hiji own eyes all the injury, and count 
the slain. The stiff followed him: all were disturbed. — 
they had sorrow and seriousness in their faces. When they 


readied the intreuchmeut, thev dismounted and began to 
ascend. Traces of the struggle were visible everywhere; 
lower down than the guns were the overthrown tents ; some 
were still open, empty, silent. There were piles of bodies, 
especially among the tents; half-naked corpses, mangled, 
with staring eyes, and with terror stiffened in their dead 
eyeballs, presented a dreadful sight. Evidently all these 
men had been surprised in deep sleep ; some of them were 
barefoot ; it was a rare one who grasped his rapier in his 
dead hand ; almost no one wore a helmet or a cap. Some 
were lying in tents, especially at the side of the entrance ; 
these, it was apparent, had barely succeeded in waking ; 
others, at the sides of tents, were caught by death at the 
moment when they were seeking safety in flight. Every- 
where there were many bodies, and in places such piles 
that it might be thought some cataclysm of nature had 
killed those soldiers ; but the deep wounds in their faces 
and breasts, some faces blackened by shots, so near that all 
the powder had not been burned, testified but too plainly 
that the hand of man had caused the destruction. 

Miller went higher, to the guns; they were standing 
dumb, spiked, no more terrible now than logs of wood ; 
across one of them lay hanging on both sides the body of a 
gunner, almost cut in two by the terrible sweep of a scythe. 
Blood had flowed over the carriage and formed a broad 
pool beneath it. Miller observed everything minutely, in 
silence and with frowning brow. No officer dared break that 
silence. For how could they bring consolation to that aged 
general, who had been beaten like a novice through his own 
want of care ? That was not only defeat, but shame ; for 
the general himself had called that fortress a hen-house, 
and promised to crush it between his fingers, for he had nine 
thousand soldiers, and there were two hundred men in the 
garrison ; finally, that general was a soldier, blood and bone, 
and against him were monks. 

That day had a grievous beginning for Miller. 

Now the infantry came up and began to carry out bodies. 
Four of .them, bearing on a stretcher a corpse, stopped be- 
fore the general without being ordered. 

Miller looked at the stretcher and closed his eyes. 

" De Fossis,*' said he, in a hollow voice. 

Scarcely had they gone aside when -others came ; this 
time Sadovski moved toward them and called from a dis- 
tance, turning to the staff, — 

VOL. 11. — 2 


" They are carrying Horn ! " 

But Horn was alive yet, and had before him long days 
of atrocious suffering. A peasant had cut him with the 
very point of a scythe ; l)ut the blow was so fearful that 
it opened the whole framework of his breast Still the 
wounded man retained his presence of mind. Seeing 
Miller and the stafF, he smiled, wished to say something, 
but instead of a sound there came thi-ough his lips merely 
rose-colored froth ; then he began to blinii, and fainted. 

" Carry him to my tent," said Miller, " and let my doctor 
attend to him immediately." 

Then the officers heard him say to himself, — 

" Horn, Horn, — I saw him last night in a dream, — just 
in the evening. A terrible thing, beyond comprehension ! " 

And iixing his eyes on the ground, he dropped into deep 
thought ; all at once he was roused from his revery by the 
voice of Sadovski, who cried : " General ! look there, there 
— the cloister ! " 

Miller looked and was astonished. It was broad day and 
clear, only fogs were hanging over the earth ; but the sky 
was clear and blushing from the light of the morning. A 
white fog hid the summit itself of Vjusna Gora, and accord- 
ing to the usual order of things ought to hide the church , 
but by a peculiar phenomenon the uhureh, with the tower, 
was raised, not only above the cliff, but above tlie fog, high, 
liigh, — precisely as if it had separated from its fuundJatious 
and was hanging in the blue under tlie dome of the sky. 
The cries of tlie soldiers announced that they too saw the 

■' That fog deceives the eye ! '* said Miller. 

" The fog is lying under the chwreh," answered Sadovski. 

"It is a wonderful thing; but that church is ten times 
higher than It wag yesterday, and hangs in the air," said 
the Prince of Hesse. 

■' It is going yet ! higher, higher ! " cried the soldiers, 
" It will vanish from the eye ! " 

In fact the fog hauging on the clilf began to rise toward 
the sky in the form of an immense pillar of smoke ; the 
church planted, as it were, on the summit of that pillar, 
seemed to rise tiigher each instant ; at the same time when 
it was far up, as high as the clouds themselves, it was 
veiled more and more with vapor; you would have said 
that it was melting, liquefying ; it became more indistinct, 
and at last vanished altogether. 


Miller turned to the officers, and in his eyes were depicted 
astonishment and a superstitious dread. 

" I acknowledge, gentlemen," said he, " that I have never 
seen such a thing in my life, altogether opposed to nature : 
it must be the enchantment of papists." 

"I have heard," said Sadovski, "soldiers crying out, 
* How can you tire at such a fortress ? ' In truth I know 
not how." 

" But what is there now ? " cried the Prince of Hesse. 
" Is that church in the fog, or is it gone ? " 

•* Though this were an ordinary phenomenon of nature, in 
any event it forebodes us no good. See, gentlemen, from the 
time that we came here we have not advanced one step." 

" If," answered Sadovski, " we had only not advanced ; but 
to tell the truth, we have suffered defeat after defeat, and 
last night was the worst. The soldiers losing willingness 
lose courage, and will begin to be negligent. You have no 
idea of what they say in the regiments. Besides, wonderful 
things take place ; for instance, for a certain time no man 
can go alone, or even two men, out of the camp ; whoever 
does so is as if he had fallen through the earth, as if wolves 
were prowling around Chenstohova. I sent myself, not 
long since, a l)anneret and three men to Vyeluuie for warm 
clothing, and from tliat day, no tidings of them." 

'*lt will be worse when winter comes; even now the 
nights are unendurable," added the Prince of Hesse. 

" The mist is growing thinner ! " said Miller, on a sudden. 

In fact a breeze rose and began to blow away the vapors. 
In the bundles of fog something began to quiver ; finally 
the sun rose and the air grew transparent. The walls of 
the cloister were outlined faintly, then out came the churcli 
and the cloister. Everything was in its old place. The 
fortress was quiet and still, as if people were not living 
in it. 

*' General," said the Prince of Hesse, with energy, " try 
negotiations again, it is needful to finish at once." 

** But if negotiations lead to nothing, do you, gentlemen, 
advise to give up the siege ? " asked Miller, gloomily. 

The officers were silent. After a while Sadovski said, — 

" Your worthiness knows best that it will come to that." 

" I know," answered Miller, haughtily, " and I say this 
only to you, that I curse the day and the hour in which I 
came hither, as well as the counsellor who persuaded me to 
this siege [here he pierced Count Yeyhard with his glance]. 


You know, however, after what has happened, that I shall 
not withdraw until I turn this cursed fortress into a heap 
of ruins, or fall myself." 

Displeasure was reflected in the face of the Prince of 
Hesse. He had never respected Miller over-much ; hence 
he considered this mere military braggadocio ill-timed, in 
view of the captured trenches, the corpses, and the spiked 
cannon. He turned to him then and answered with evident 
sarcasm, — 

** General, you are not able to promise tliat ; for you would 
withdraw in view of the lirst command of the king, or of 
Marshal Wittemberg. Sometimes also circumstances are 
able to command not worse than kings and marshals.'' 

Miller wrinkled his heavy brows, seeing which Count 
Veyhard said hurriedly, — 

" Meanwhile we will try negotiations. They will yield ; 
it cannot be otherwise." 

The rest of his words were drowned by the rejoicing 
sound of bells, summoning to early Mass in the church of 
Yasna Gora. The general with his staff rode away slowly 
toward Chenstohova ; but had not reached headquarters 
when an officer rushed up on a foaming horse. 

"He is from Marshal Wittemberg ! " said Miller. 

The officer handed him a letter. The general broke the 
seal hurriedly, and running over the letter quickly with his 
eyes, said with confusion in his countenance, — 

"No! This IS from Foznan. Evil tidings. In Great 
Poland the nobles are rising, the people are joining them. 
At the head of the movement is Krishtof Jegotski, who 
wants to march to the aid of Chenstohova.'' 

"I foretold that these shots would be heard from the 
('arpathians to the Baltic," muttered Sadovski. *' With this 
people change is sudden. You do not know the Poles yet ; 
you will discover them later." 

" Well ! we shall know them," answered Miller. " I pre- 
fer an open enemy to a false ally. They yielded of their 
own accord, and now they are taking arms. Well ! they 
will know our weapons." 

" And we theirs," blurted out Sadovski. " General, let 
us finish negotiations with Chenstohova; let us agree to 
any capitulation. It is not a question of the fortress, but 
of the rule of his Royal Grace in this country." 

" The monks will capitulate," said Count Veyhard. " To- 
day or to-morrow they will yield." 


So they conversed with one another ; but in the cloister 
after early Mass the joy was unbounded. Those who had 
not gone out in the sortie asked those who had how every- 
thing had happened. Those who had taken part boasted 
greatly, glorifying their own bravery and the defeat they 
had given the enemy. 

Among the priests and women curiosity became para- 
mount. White habits and women's robes covered the wall. 
It was a beautiful and gladsome day. The women gathered 
around Charnyetski, crying " Our deliverer ! our guardian ! " 
He defended himself particularly when they wanted to kiss 
his hands, and pointing to Kmita, said, — 

"Thank him too. He is Babinich,* but no old woman. 
He will not let his hands be kissed, for there is blood on 
them yet ; but if any of the younger would like to kiss him 
on the lips, I think that he would not flinch." 

The younger women did in fact cast modest and at the 
same time enticing glances at Pan Andrei, admiring his 
splendid beauty ; but he did not answer with his eyes to 
those dumb questions, for the sight of these maidens re- 
minded him of Olenka. 

" Oh, my poor girl ! " thought he, " if you only knew that 
in the service of the Most Holy Lady I am opposing those 
enemies whom formerly I served to my sorrow ! " 

And he promised himself that the moment the siege was 
over he would write to her in Kyedaui, and hurry off Soroka 
with the letter. " And 1 shall send her not empty words 
and promises ; for now deeds are behind me, which with- 
out empty boasting, but accurately, I shall describe in the 
letter. Let her know that she has done this, let her be 

And he consoled himself with this thought so much that 
he did not even notice how the maidens said to one 
another, in departing, — 

" He is a good warrior ; but it is clear that he looks only 
to battle, and is an unsocial grumbler." 

* Thii name i« derived from Mtrt an old woman 



According to the wish of his officers, ^Filler began nego- 
tiations again. There came to the cloister from the Swedish 
camp a well-known Polish noble, respected for his age and 
his eloquence. They received him graciously on Yasna 
Gora, judging that only in seeming and through constraint 
would he argue for surrender, but in reality would add to 
their courage and confirm the news, which had broken 
through the besieged wall, of the rising in Great Poland ; of 
the dislike of the quarter troops to Sweden ; of the nego- 
tiations of Yan Kazimir with the Cossacks, who, as it were, 
seemed willing to return to obedience ; finally, of the tre- 
mendous declaration of the Khan of the Tartars, that he 
was marching with aid to the vanquished king, all of 
whose enemies he would pursue with fire and sword. 

But how the monks were mistaken ! The personage 
brought indeed a large bundle of news, — but news that was 
appalling, news to cool the most fervent zeal, to crush the 
most invincible resolution, stagger the most ardent faith. 

The priests and the nobles gathered around him in the 
council chaml>er, in the midst of silence and attention ; from 
his lips sincerity itself seemed to flow, and pain for the 
fate of the country. He placed his hand frequently on his 
white head as if wishing ix) restrain an outburst of despair ; 
he gazed on the crucifix ; he had tears in his eyes, and in 
slow, broken accents, he uttered the following words : — 

" Ah, what times the suffering country has lived to ! All 
help is past : it is incumbent to yield to the King of the 
Swedes. For whom in reality have you, revered fathers, 
and you lords brothers, the nobles, seized your swords ? 
For whom are you sparing neither watching nor toil, nor 
suffering nor blood ? For whom, through resistance, — 
unfortunately vain, — are you exposing yourselves and 
holy places to the terrible vengeance of the invincible 
legions of Sweden ? Is it for Yan Kazimir ? But he has 
already disregarded our kingdom. Do you not know that 
he has already made his choice, and preferring wealth, 
joyous feasts, and peaceful delights to a troublesome throne, 


ha6 abdicated in favor of Karl Gustav ? You are not willing 
to leave him, but he has left you ; you are unwilling to break 
your oath, he has broken it ; you are ready to die for 
him, but he cares not for you nor for any of us. Our lawful 
king now is Karl Gustav ! Be careful, then, lest you draw 
on your heads, not merely anger, vengeance, and ruin, but 
sin before heaven, the cross, and the Most Holy Lady ; for 
you are raising insolent hands, not against invaders, but 
against your own king." 

These words were received in silence, as though death 
were flying through that chamber. What could be more 
terrible than news of the abdication of Yan Kazimir ? It 
was in truth news monstrously improbable ; but that old 
noble gave it there in presence of the cross, in presence of 
the image of Mary, and with tears in his eyes. 

But if it were true, further resistance was in fact mad- 
ness. The nobles covered their eyes with their hands, the 
monks pulled their cowls over their heads, and silence, as 
of the grave, continued unbroken ; but Kordetski, the prior, 
began to whisper earnest prayer with his pallid lips, and 
his eyes, calm, deep, clear, and piercing, were tixed on the 
speaker immovably. 

The noble felt that inquiring glance, was ill at ease and 
oppressed by it ; he wished to preserve the marks of im- 
portance, benignity, compassionate virtue, good wishes, but 
could not ; he began to cast restless glances on the other 
fathers, and after a while he spoke further : — 

" It is the worst thing to inflame stubl)ornness l)y a long 
abuse of patience. The result of your resistance will be the 
destruction of this holy church, and the infliction on you — 
God avert it ! — of a terrible and cruel rule, which you will 
be forced to obey. Aversion to the world and avoidance of its 
questions are the weapons of monks. What have you to do 
with the uproar of war, — you, whom the precepts of your 
order call to retirement and silence ? My brothers, revered 
and most beloved fathers ! do not take on your hearts, do 
not take on your consciences, such a terrible responsibility. 
It was not you who built this sacred rotn^at, not for you 
alone must it serve ! Permit that it flourish, and that it 
bless this land for long ages, so that our sons and grandsons 
may rejoice in it." 

Here the traitor opened his arms and fell into tears. The 
nobles were silent, the fathers were silent ; doubt had 
seized all. Their hearts were tortured, and despair was at 


hand ; the memory of baffled and useless endeavors weighed 
on their minds like lead. 

"I am waiting for your answer, fathers," said the 
venerable traitor, dropping his head on his breast. 

Kordetski now rose, and with a voice in which there was 
not the least hesitation or doubt, spoke as if with the vision 
of a prophet, — 

'* Your statement that Yan Razimir has abandoned us, 
has abdicated and transferred his rights to Karl Gustav, is a 
calumny. Hope has entered the heart of our banished king, 
and never has he toiled more zealously than he is toiling at 
this moment to secure the salvation of the country, to secure 
his throne, and bring us aid in oppression." 

The mask fell in an instant from the face of the traitor ; 
malignity and deceit were reflected in it as clearly as if 
dragons had crept out at once from the dens of his soul, in 
which till that moment they had held themselves hidden. 

" Whence this intelligence, whence this certainty ? " in- 
quired he. 

" Whence ? " answered the prior, pointing to a great 
crucifix hanging on the wall. ** Go ! place your finger on 
the pierced feet of Christ, and repeat what you have told us." 

The traitor began to bend as if under the crushing of 
an iron hand, and a new dragon, terror, crawled forth to his 

Kordetski, the prior, stood lordly, .terrible as Moses ; rays 
seemed to shoot from his temples. 

" Go, repeat ! " said he, without lowering his hand, in a 
voice so powerful that the shaken arches of the council 
chamber trembled and echoed as if in fear, — " Go, repeat ! " 

A moment of silence followed ; at last the stifled voice 
of the visitor was heard, — 

*' I wash my hands — " 

" Like Pilate ! " finished Kordetski. 

The traitor rose and walked out of the room. He hurried 
through the yard of the cloister, and when he found himself 
outside the gate, he began to run, almost as if something 
were hunting him from the cloister to the Swedes. 

Zamoyski went to Charnyetski and Kmita, who had not 
been in the hall, to tell them what had happened. 

" Did that envoy bring any good ? " asked Charnyetski ; 
"he had an honest face." 

"God guard us from such honest men!" answered 
Zamoyski ; " he brought doubt and temptation." 


** What did he say ? " asked Kmita, raising a litlrle the 
lighted match which he was holding in his hand. 

'' He spoke like a hired traitor." 

"That is why he hastens so now, I suppose," said 
Ghamyetski. " See ! he is running with almost full speed 
to the Swedish camp. Oh, I would send a ball after him ! " 

" A good thing ! " said Kmita, and he put the match to 
the cannon. 

The thunder of the gun was heard before Zamoyski and 
Ghamyetski could see what had happened. Zamoyski 
caught his head. 

" In (Jod's name ! " cried he, " what have you done ? — he 
was an envoy." 

" I have done ill ! " answered Kmita ; " for I missed. He 
is on his feet again and hastens farther. Oh ! why did it go 
over him ? " Here he turned to Zamoyski. " Though I 
had hit him in the loins, they could not have proved that 
we fired at him purposely, and God knows 1 could not 
hold the match in my fingers; it came down of itself. 
Never should I have fired at an envoy who was a Swede, 
but at sight of Polish traitors ray entrails revolt." 

" Oh, curb yourself ; for there would be trouble, and they 
would be ready to injure our envoys." 

But Ghamyetski was content in his soul ; for Kmita heard 
him mutter, ** At least that traitor will be sure not to come 
on an embassy again." 

This did not escape the ear of Zamoyski, for he 
answered : " If not this one, others will be found ; and do 
you, gentlemen, make no opposition to their negotiations, 
do not interrupt them of your own will ; for the more they 
drag on, the more it results to our profit. Succor, if God 
sends it, will have time to assemble, and a hard winter is 
coming, making the siege more and more difficult. Delay 
is loss for the enemy, but brings profit to us." 

Zamoyski then went to the chamber, where, after the 
envoy's departure, consultation was still going on. The 
words of tne traitor had startled men ; minds and souls 
were excited. They did not believe, it is true, in the 
abdication of Yan Kazimir ; but the envoy had held up to 
their vision the power of the Swedes, which previous 
days of success had permitted them to forget. Now it con- 
fronted their minds with all that terror before which towns 
and fortresses not such as theirs had been frightened, — 
Poznan, Warsaw, Gracow, not counting the multitude of 


castles which had opened their gates to the conqueror ; how 
could Yasna Gora defend itself in a general deluge of 
defeats ? 

" We shall defend ourselves a week longer, two, three," 
thought to themselves some of the nobles and some of the 
monks ; " but what further, what end will there be to these 
efforts ? " 

The whole country was like a ship already deep in the 
abyss, and that cloister was peering up like the top of a 
mast through the waves. Could those wrecked ones, cling- 
ing to the mast, think not merely of saving themselves, 
but of raising that vessel from under the ocean ? 

According to man's calculations they could not, and still, 
at the moment when Zamoyski re-entered the hall, Kor- 
detski was saying, — 

" My brothers ! if you sleep not, neither do I sleep. 
When you are imploring our Patroness for rescue, I too 
am praying. Weariness, toil, weakness, cling to my bones 
as well as to yours ; responsibility in like manner weighs 
upon me — nay, more perhaps, than ujwn you. Why have I 
faith while you seem in doubt ? Enter into yourselves ; 
or is it that your eyes, blinded by earthly power, see not 
a power greater than the Swedes ? Or think you that no 
defence will suffice, that no hand can overcome that pre- 
ponderance? If that is the case your thoughts are sin- 
ful, and you blaspheme against the mercy of God, against 
the all-might of our Lord, against the power of that Pa- 
troness whose servants you call yourselves. Who of you 
will dare to say that that Most Holy Queen cannot shield 
us and send victory ? Therefore let us beseech her, let us 
implore night and day, till by our endurance, our humility, 
our tears, our sacrifice of body and health, we soften her 
heart, and pray away our previous sins.'' 

** Father," said one of the nobles, "it is not a question 
for us of our lives or of our wives and children ; but we 
tremble at the thought of the insults which may be put on 
the image, should the enemy capture the fortress by storm." 

" And we do not wish to take on ourselves the responsi- 
bility," added another. 

" For no one has a right to take it, not even the prior," 
added a third. 

And the opposition increased, and gained boldness, all the 
more since many monks maintained silence. The prior, in- 
stead of answering directly, began to pray. 


" O Mother of Thy only Son ! " said he, raising his hands 
and his eyes toward heaven, " if Thou hast visited us so 
that in Thy capital we should give an example to others 
of endurance, of bravery, of faithfulness to Thee, to the 
country, to the king, — if Thou hast chosen this place in 
order to rouse by it the consciences of men and save the 
whole country, have mercy on those who desire to re- 
strain, to stop the fountain of Thy grace, to hinder Thy 
miracles, and resist Thy holy will." Here he remained a 
moment in ecstasy, and then turned to the monks and 
nobles : ** What man will take on his shoulders this re- 
sponsibility, — the responsibility of stopping the minvcles of 
Mary Her grace. Her salvation for this kingdom and the 
Catholic faith?" 

"In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost I '' an- 
swered a number of voices, " God preserve us from that I " 

" Such a man will not be found ! " cried Zamoyski. 

And those of the monks in whose hearts doubt had been 
plunging began to beat their breasts, for no small fear had 
now seized them ; and none of the councillors thought of 
surrender that evening. 

But though the hearts of the older men were strengthened, 
the destructive planting of that hireling had given forth 
fruits of poison. 

News of the abdication of Yan Kaziniir and the improba- 
bility of succor went from the nobles to the women, from the 
women to the servants ; the servants spread it among the 
soldiers, on whom it made the very worst impression. The 
peasants were astonished least of all ; but experienced sol- 
diers, accustomed to calculate the turns of war in soldier 
fashion only, began to assemble and explain to one another 
the impossibility of further defence, complaining of the 
stubbornness of monks, who did not understand the posi- 
tion ; and, finally, to conspire and talk in secret. 

A certain gunner, a German of suspected fidelity, proposed 
that the soldiers themselves take the matter in hand, and 
come to an understanding with the Swedes touching the 
surrender of the fortress. Others caught at this idea ; but 
there were those who not only opposed the treason resolutely, 
but informed Kordetski of it without delay. 

Kordetski, who knew how to join with the firmest trust 
in the powers of heaven the greatest earthly adroitness and 
caution, destroyed the secretly spreading treason in its 


First of all he expelled from the fortress the leaders of 
the treason, and at the head of thein that gunner, having 
no fear whatever of what they could inform the Swedes re- 
garding the state of the fortress and its weak sides ; then, 
doubling the monthly wages of the garrison, he took from 
them an oath to defend the cloister to the last drop of their 

But he redoubled also his watchfulness, resolving to look 
with more care to the paid soldiers, as well as the nobles, 
and even his own monks. The older fathers were detailed 
to the night choirs ; the younger, besides the service of Grod, 
were obliged to render service on the walls. 

Next day a review of the infantry was held. To each 
bastion one noble with his servants, ten monks and two 
reliable gunners were detailed. All these were bound to 
watch, night and day, the places confided to them. 

Pan Mosinski took his place at the northeastern bastion ; 
he was a good soldier, the man whose little child had sur- 
vived in a miraculous manner, though a bomb fell near its 
cradle. With him Father Hilary Slavoshevski kept guard. 
On the western bastion was Father Myeletski, of the nobles 
Pan Mikolai Kryshtoporski, a man surly and abrupt in 
speech, but of unterrified valor. The southeastern bastion 
was occupied by Charnyetski and Kmita, and with them 
was Father Adam Stypulski, who had formerly been a 
hussar. He, when the need came, tucked up his habit, 
aimed cannon, and took no more heed of the balls flying 
over his head than did the old sergeant Soroka. Finally, 
to the southwestern bastion were appointed Pan Skoriev- 
ski and Father Daniel Ryhtalski, who were distinguished 
by this, that both could abstain from sleep two and three 
nights in succession without harm to their health or their 

Fathers Dobrosh and Malahovski were appointed over the 
sentries. Persons unfitted for fighting were appointed to 
the roofs. The armory and all military implements Father 
Lyassota took under his care ; after Father Dobrosh, he took 
also the office of master of the fires. In the night he had to 
illuminate the walls so that infantry of the enemy might 
not approach them. He arranged sockets and iron-holders 
on the towers, on which flamed at night torches and lights. 
In fact, the whole tower looked every night like one 
gigantic torch. It is true that this lightened cannonading 
for tlie Swedes ; but it might serve as a sign that the for- 


tress was holding out yet, if, perchance, some army should 
march to relieve the besieged. 

So then not only had designs of surrender crept apart 
into nothing, but the besieged turned with still greater zeal 
to defence. Next morning the prior walked along the walls, 
like a shepherd through a sheepfold, saw that everything was 
right, smiled kindly, praised the chiefs and the soldiers, 
and coming to Charnyetski, said with radiant face, — 

" Our beloved leader. Pan Zamoyski, rejoices equally with 
me, for he says that we are now twice as strong as at 
first. A new spirit has entered men's hearts, the grace of 
the Most Holy Lady will do the rest; but meanwhile 1 will 
take to negotiations again. We will delay and put off, for 
by such means the blood of people will be spared." 

" Oh, revered father !" said Kmita, " what good are nego- 
tiations ? Loss of time ! Better another sortie to-night, 
and we will cut up those dogs." 

Kordetski (for he was in good humor) smiled as a mother 
smiles at a wayward child ; then he raised a band of straw 
lying near the gun, and pretended to strike Pan Andrei with 
it on the shoulders : " And you will interfere here, you 
Lithuanian plague ; you will lap blood as a wolf, and give 
an example of disobedience ; here it is for you, here it is for 
you ! " 

Kmita, delighted as a schoolboy, dodged to the right 
and to the left, and as if teasing purposely, repeated : " Kill 
the Swedes ! kill, kill, kill ! " 

And so they gave comfort to one another, liaving ardent 
souls devoted to the country. But Kordetski did not omit 
negotiations, seeing that Miller desired them earnestly and 
caught after every pretext. This desire pleased Kordetski, 
for he divined, without trouble, that it could not be going 
well with the enemy if he was so anxious to finish. 

Days passed then, one after another, in which guns and 
muskets were not indeed silent, but pens were working 
mainly. In this way the siege was prolonged, and winter 
was coming harsher and harsher. On the Carpathian sum- 
mits clouds hatched in their precipitous nests storms, frost, 
and snows, and then came forth on the country, leading their 
icy descendants. At night the Swedes cowered around 
fires, choosing to die from the balls of the cloister rather 
than freeze. 

A hard winter had rendered difficult the digging of 
trenches and the making of mines. There was no progress 


in the siege. In tiie mouths not merely of officers, but of 
the whole army, there was only one word, — " negotiations." 

The priests feigned at first a desire to surrender. Father 
Dobrosh and the learned priest Sebastyan Stavitski came to 
Miller as envoys. They gave him some hoi)e of agreement. 
He had barely heard this when he opened his arms and was 
ready to seize them with joy to his embraces. It was no 
longer a question of Chenstohova, but of the whole country. 
The surrender of Yasna Gora would have removed the last 
hope of the patriots, and pushed the Commonwealth finally 
into the arms of the King of Sweden ; while, on the contrary, 
resistance, and that a victorious resistance, might change 
hearts and call out a terrible new war. Signs were not 
wanting. Miller knew this, felt what he had undertaken, 
what a terrible responsibility was weighing on him ; he knew 
that either the favor of the king, with the baton of a marshal, 
honors, a title, were waiting for him, or final fall. Since 
he had begun to convince himself that he could not crack 
this " nut," he received the priests with unheard-of honor, as 
if they were embassadors from the Emperor of Germany or 
the Sultan. He invited them to a feast, he drank to their 
honor, and also to the health of the prior and Pan Zamoyski ;• 
he gave them fish for the cloister ; finally, he offered condi- 
tions of surrender so gracious that he did not doubt for a mo- 
ment that they would be accepted in haste. 

The fathers thanked him humbly, as Ix^seemed monks ; 
they took the paper and went their way. Miller promised 
the opening of the gates at eight of the following morning. 
Joy indescribable reigned in the camp of the Swedes. The 
soldiers left the trenches, approached the walls, and began 
to address the besieged. 

But it was announced from the cloister that in an affair of 
such weight the prior must consult the whole Congregation ; 
the monks therefore begged for one day's delay. Miller con- 
sented without hesitation. Meanwhile they were counselling 
in the chaml)er till late at night. 

Though Miller was an old and trained warrior, though 
there was not, perhaps, in the whole Swedish army a general 
who had conducted more negotiations with various places 
than that Poliorcetes, still his heart beat unquietly when next 
morning he saw two white habits approaching his quarters. 

They were not the same fathers. First walked Father 
Bleshynski, a reader of philosophy, bearing a sealed 
letter; after him came Father Maiahovski, with hands 


crossed on his breast, with drooping head and a face 
slightly pale. 

The general received them surrounded by his staff and all 
his noted colonels ; and when he had answered politely the 
submissive bow of Father Bleshynski, he took the letter 
from his hand hastily and began to read. 

But all at once his face changed terribly : a wave of blood 
flew to his head ; his eyes were bursting forth, his neck 
grew thick, and terrible anger raised the hair under his wig. 
For a while speech was taken from him ; he only indicated 
with his hand the letter to the Prince of Hesse, who ran 
over it with his eyes, and turning to the colonels, said 
calmly, — 

"The monks declare only this much, that they cannot 
renounce Yan Kaziniir before the primate proclaims a new 
king; or speaking in other words, they will not recognize 
Karl Gustav." 

Here the Prince of Hesse laughed. Sadovski fixed a 
jeering glance on Miller, and Count Veyhard began to pluck 
his own beard from rage. A terrible murmur of excitement 
rose among those present. 

Then Miller struck his palms on his knees and cried, — 

" Guards, guards ! " 

The mustached faces of four musketeers showed them- 
selves quickly in the door. 

'^Take those shaven sticks," cried the general, "and 
confine them ! And Pan Sadovski, do you trumpet for me 
under the cloister, that if they open tire from one can- 
non on the walls, I will hang these two monks the next 

The two priests were led out amid ridicule and the scoff- 
ing of soldiers. The musketeers put their own caps on the 
priests' heads, or rather on their .faces to cover their eyes, 
and led them of purpose to various obstacles. When either 
of the priests stumbled or fell, an outburst of laughter was 
heard m the crowds j but the fallen man they raised with 
the butts of muskets, and pretending to support, they pushed 
him by the loins and the shoulders. Some threw horse-dung 
at the priests ; others took snow and rubbed it on their shaven 
crowns, or let it roll down on their habits. The soldiers 
tore strings from trumpets, and tying one end to the neck 
of each priest, held the other, and imitating men taking 
cattle to a fair, called out the prices. 

Both fathers walked on in silence, with hands crossed on 


their breasts and prayers on their lips. Finally^ trembling 
from cold and insulted, they were enclosed in a barn ; around 
the place guards armed with muskets were stationed. 

Miller's command, or rather his threat, was trumpeted 
under the cloister walls. 

The fathers were frightened, and the troops were be- 
numbed from the threat. The cannon were silent ; a coun- 
cil was assembled, they knew not what to do. To leave 
the fathers in cruel hands was impossible ; and if they sent 
others, Miller would detain them as well. A few houi*s later 
he himself sent a messenger, asking what the monks thought 
of doing. 

They answered that until the fathers were freed no nego- 
tiations could take place ; for how could the monks believe 
that the general would observe conditions with them if, de- 
spite the chief law of nations, he imprisoned envoys whose 
sacredness even barbarians respect ? 

To this declaration there was no ready answer ; hence ter- 
rible uncertainty weighed on the cloister and froze the zeal 
of its defenders. 

The Swedish army dug new trenches in haste, filled bas- 
kets with earth, planted cannon ; insolent soldiers pushed 
forward to within half a musket-shot of the walls. They 
threatened the church, the defenders ; half-drunken soldiers 
shouted, raising their hands toward the walls, " Surrender 
the cloister, or you will see your monks hanging ! " 

Others blasphemed terribly against the Mother of God 
and the Catholic faith. The besieged, out of respect to the 
life of the fathers, had to listen with patience. Rage stopped 
the breath in Kmita's breast. He tore the hair on his head, 
the clothing on his breast, and wringing his hands, said to 
Charnyetski, — 

" I asked, * Of what use. is negotiation with criminals ? ' 
Now stand and suffer, while they are crawling into our eyes 
and blaspheming ! Mother of God, have mercy on me, and 
give me patience ! By the living God, they will begin soon 
to climb the walls ! Hold me, chain me like a murderer, for 
I shall not contain myself." 

But the Swedes came ever nearer, blaspheming more boldly. 

Meanwhile a fresh event brought the besieged to despair. 
Stefan Charnyetski in surrendering Cracow had obtained 
the condition of going out with all his troops, and remaining 
with them in Silesia till the end of the war. Seven hundred 
infantry of those troops of the royal guard, under command 


of Colonel Wolf, were near the boundary, and trusting in stip- 
ulations, were not on their guard. Count Veyhard persuaded 
Miller to capture those men. 

Miller sent Count Veyhard himself, with two thousand 
cavalry, who crossing the boundary at night attacked those 
troops during sleep, and captured them to the last man. 
When they were brought to the Swedish camp, Miller 
commanded to lead them around the wall, so as to show the 
priests that that army from which they had hoped succor 
would serve specially for the capture of Chenstohova. 

The sight of that brilliant guard of the king dragged along 
the walls was crushing to the besieged, for no one doubted 
that Miller would force them first to the storm. 

Panic spread again among the troops of the cloister ; some 
of the soldiers began to break their weapons and exclaim 
that there was help no longer, that it was necessary to sur- 
render at the earliest. Even the hearts of the nobles had 
fallen ; some of them appeared before Kordetski again with 
entreaties to take pity on their children, on the sacred place, 
on the image, and on the Congregation of monks. The cour- 
age of the prior and Pan Zamoyski was barely enough to 
put down this movement. 

But Kordetski had the liberation of the imprisoned fathers 
on his mind first of all, and he took the best method j for he 
wrote to Miller that he would sacrifice those brothers will- 
ingly for the good of the church. Let the general condemn 
them to death,; all would know in future what to expect 
from him, and what faith to give his promises. 

Miller was joyful, for he thought the affair was approach- 
ing its end. But he did not trust the words of Kordetski 
at once, nor his readiness to sacrifice the monks. He sent 
therefore one of them. Father Bleshynski, to the cloister, 
binding him first with an oath to explain the power of the 
Swedes and the impossibility of resistance. The monk re- 
peated everything faithfully, but his eyes spoke something 
else, and concluding he said, — 

" But prizing life less than the good of the Congregation, I 
am waiting for the will of the council ; and whatsoever you 
decide I will lay before the enemy most faithfully." 

They directed him to say : " The monks are anxious to 
treat, but cannot believe a general who imprisons envoys." 
Next day the other envoy of the fathers came to the cloister, 
and returned with a similar answer. 

After this both heard the sentence of death. The sentence 

VOL. 11. — 3 


was read at Miller's quarters in presence of the staff and dis- 
tinguished officers. All observed carefully the faces of the 
monks, curious to learn what impression the sentence would 
make ; and with the greatest amazement they saw in both a 
joy as great, as unearthly, as if the highest fortune had been 
announced to them. The pale faces of the monks flushed 
suddenly, their eyes were filled with light, and Father Mala- 
hovski said with a voice trembling from emotion, — 

" Ah ! why should we not die to-day, since we are pre- 
destined to fall a sacrifice for our Lord and the king ? " 

Miller commanded to lead them forth straightway. The 
officers looked at one another. At last one remarked : " A 
struggle with such fanaticism is difficult." 

The Prince of Hesse added : " Onl^^ithe first Christians 
had such faith. Is that what you wish to say ? " Then he 
turned to Count Veyhard. ^' Pan Veyhard," said he, " I 
should be glad to know what you think of these monks ? " 

" I have no need to trouble my head over them," answered 
he, insolently ; " the general has already taken care of 

Then Sadovski stepped forward to the middle of the room, 
stood before Miller, and said with decision : " Your worthi- 
ness, do not command to execute these monks." 

" But why not ? " 

" Because there will be no talk of negotiations after that ; 
for the garrison of the fortress will be flaming with ven- 
geance, and those men will rather fall one upon the other 
than surrender." 

" Wittemberg will send me heavy guns." 

" Your worthiness, do not do this deed," continued Sadov- 
ski, with force ; " they are envoys who have come here with 

*' I shall not have them hanged on confidence, but on 

" The echo of this deed will spread through the whole 
country, will enrage all hearts, and turn them away 
from us." 

" Give me peace with your echoes ; 1 have heard of them 
already a hundred times." 

" Your worthiness will not do this without the knowledge 
of his Royal Grace ? " 

" You have no right to remind me of my duties to the 

"But I have the right to ask for permission to resign 


from sendee, and to present my reasons to his Boyal Grace. 
1 wish to be a soldier, not an executioner." 

The Prince of Hesse issued from the circle in the middle 
of the room, and said ostentatiously, — 

" Give me your hand. Pan Sadovski ; you are a gentleman, 
a noble, and an honest man.'' 

** What does this mean ? " roared Miller, springing from 
his seat. 

" Greueral," answered the Prince of Hesse, " 1 permit 
myself to remark that Pan Sadovski is an honorable 
man, and I judge that there is nothing m this against 

Miller did not like the Prince of Hesse ; but that cool, 
polite, and also contemptuous manner of speaking, special to 
men of high rank, imposed on him, as it does on many per- 
sons of low birth. Miller made great efforts to acquire this 
manner, but had no success. He restrained his outburst, 
however^ and said calmly, — 

** The monks will be hanged to-morrow." 

" That is not my affair," answered the Prince of Hesse ; 
" but in that event let your worthiness order an attack on 
those two thousand Poles who are in our camp, for if you 
do not they will attack us. Even now it is less dangerous 
for a Swedish soldier to go among a pack of wolves than 
among their tents. This is all 1 have to say, and now I 
permit myself to wish you success." When he had said 
this he left the quarters. 

Miller saw that he had gone too far. But he did not with- 
draw his orders, and that same day gibbets were erected iii 
view of the whole cloister. At the same time the soldiers, 
taking advantage of the truce, pushed still nearer the walls, 
not ceasing to jeer, insult, blaspheme, and challenge. 
Whole throngs of them climbed the mountain, stood as 
closely together as if they intended to make an assault. 

That time Kmita, whom they had not chained as he had 
requested, did not in fact restrain himself, and thundered 
from a cannon into the thickest group, with such effect that 
he laid down in a row all those who stood in front of the 
shot. That was like a watchword ; for at once, without 
orders, and even in spite of orders, all the cannons began to 
play, muskets and guns thundered. 

The Swedes, exposed to fire from every side, tied from the 
fortress with howling and screaming, many falling dead on 
the road« 


Charnyetski sprang to Kmita ; " Do you know that for 
that the reward is a bullet in the head ? " 

" I know, all one to me. Let me be — " 

" In that case aim surely.'' 

Kmita aimed surely ; soon, however, he missed. A great 
movement rose meanwhile in the Swedish camp, but it was 
so evident that the Swedes were the first to violate the truce, 
/:hat Miller himself recognized in his soul that the besieged 
^vere in the right. 

What is more, Kmita did not even suspect that with his 
shots he had perhaps saved the lives of the fathers ; but 
Miller, because of these shots, became convinced that the 
monks in the last extremity were really ready to sacrifice 
their two brethren for the good of the church and the 

The shots beat into his head this idea also, that if a hair 
were to fall from the heads of the envoys, he would not 
liear from the cloister anything save similar thunders ; so 
next day he invited the two imprisoned monks to dinner, 
and the day after he sent them to the cloister. 

Kordetski wept when he saw them, all took them in their 
arms and were astonished at hearing from their mouths that 
it was specially owing to those shots that they were saved. 
The prior, who had been angry at Kmita, called him at 
once and said, — 

" I was angry because I thought that you had destroyed 
the two fathers ; but the Most Holy Lady evidently inspired 
you. This is a sign of Her favor, be rejoiced." 

"Dearest, beloved father, there will be no more nego- 
tiations, will there ? '* asked Kmita, kissing Kordetski's 

But barely had he finished speaking, when a trumpet was 
heard at the gates, and an envoy from Miller entered the 

This was Pan Kuklinovski, colonel of the volunteer squad- 
ron attached to the Swedes. The greatest ruffians without 
honor or faith served in that squadron, in part dissidents 
such as Lutherans, Arians, Calvinists, — whereby was ex- 
plained their friendship for Sweden ; but a thirst for robbery 
and plunder attracted them mainly to Miller's army. That 
band, made up of nobles, outlaws, fugitives from prison and 
from the hands of a master, of attendants, and of gallows- 
birds snatched from the rope, was somewhat like Kmita's 
old party, save in this, that Kmita's men fought as do lions. 


and those preferred to plunder, offer violence to noble 
women, break open stables and treasure chests. But Kukli- 
novski himself had less resemblance to Kmita. Age had 
mixed gray with hi& hair. He had a face dried, insolent, and 
shameless. His eyes, which were unusually prominent and 
greedy, indicated violence of character. He was one of 
those soldiers in whom, because of a turbulent life and con- 
tinuous wars, conscience had been burned out to the bottom. 
A multitude of such men strolled about in that time, after 
the Thirty Years' War, through all Germany and Poland. 
They were ready to serve any man, and more than once a 
mere simple incident determined the side on which they 
were to stand. 

Country and faith, in a word all things sacred, were thor- 
oughly indifferent to them. They recognized nothing but 
war, and sought in it pleasure, dissipation, proht, and obliv- 
ion of life. But still when they had chosen some side they 
served it loyally enough, and that through a certain soldier- 
robber honor, so as not to close the career to themselves 
and to others. Such a man was Kuklinovski. Stern daring 
and immeasurable stubbornness had won for him consider- 
ation among the disorderly. It was easy for him to tind 
men. He had served in various arms and services. He 
had been ataman in the Saitch; he had led regiments in 
Wallachia ; in Germany he had enlisted volunteers in the 
Thirty Years' War, and had won a certain fame as a leader 
of cavalry. His crooked legs, bent in bow fashion, showed 
that he had spent the greater part of his life on horseback. 
He was as thin as a splinter, and somewhat bent from 
profligacy. Much blood, shed not in war only, weighed upon 
him. And still he was not a man wholly wicked by nature ; 
he felt at times nobler influences. But he was spoiled to 
the marrow of his bones, and insolent to the last degree. 
Frequently had he said in intimate company, in drink: 
" More than one deed was done for which the thunderbolt 
should have fallen, but it fell not." 

The effect of this impunity was that he did not believo 
in the justice of God, and punishment, not only during life, 
but after death. In other words, he did not believe in God ; 
still, he believed in the devil, in witches, in astrologers, and 
in alchemy. He wore the Polish dress, for he thought it 
most fitting for cavalry ; but his mustache, still black, he 
trimmed in Swedish fashion, and spread at the ends turned 
upward. In speaking he made every word diminutive, like 


a child; this produced a strange impression when heard 
from the mouth of such a devil incarnate and such a cruel 
rufiian, who was ever gulping human blood. He talked much 
and boastingly ; clearly he tibought himself a celebrated per- 
sonage^ and one of the first cavalry colonels on earth. 

Miller, who, though on a broader pattern, belonged himself 
to a similar class, valued him greatly, and loved specially 
to seat him at his own table. At that juncture Ruklinovski 
forced himself on the general as an assistant, guaranteeing 
that he would with his eloquence bring the priests to their 
senses at once. 

Earlier, when, after the arrest of the priests. Pan Zamoy- 
ski was preparing to visit Miller's camp and asked for a 
hostage. Miller sent Kuklinovski ; but Zamoyski and the 
prior would not accept him, as not being of requisite rank. 

From that moment, touched in his self-love, Kuklinovski 
conceived a mortal hatred for the defenders of Yasna Gora, 
and determined to injure them with all his power. There- 
fore he chose himself as an embassy, — first for the embassy 
itself, and second so as to survey everything and cast evil 
seed here and there. Since he was long known to Ghar- 
nyetski he approached the gate guarded by him ; but Char- 
nyetski was sleeping at the time, — Kmita, taking his place, 
conducted the guest to the council hall. 

Kuklinovski looked at Pan Andrei with the eye of a 
specialist, and at once he was pleased not only with the 
form but the bearing of the young hero, which might serve 
as a model. 

"A soldier," said he, raising his hand to his cap, 
'< knows at once a real soldier. I did not think that 
the priests had such men in their service. What is your 
rank, I pray ? " 

In Kmita, who had the zeal of a new convert, the soul 
revolted at sight of Poles who served Swedes ; still, he re- 
membered the recent anger of Kordetski at his disregard of 
negotiations ; therefore he answered coldly, but calmly, — 

" T am Babinich, former colonel in the Lithuanian army, 
but now a volunteer in the service of the Most Holy Lady.*' 

" And I am Kuklinovski, also colonel, of whom you must 
have heard ; for during more than one little war men men- 
tioned frequently that name and this sabre [here he struck 
at his side], not only here in the Commonwealth, but in 
foreign countries." 

"With the forehead/' said Kmita, "I have heard." 


'' Well, so you are from Lithuania, and in that land are 
famous soldiers. We know of each other, for the trumpet of 
fame is to be heard from one end of the world to the other. 
Do you know there, worthy sir, a certain Kmita ? " 

The question fell so suddenly that Pan Andrei was as if 
fixed to the spot. " But why do you ask of him ? " 

" Because I love him, though I know him not, for we are 
alike as two boots of one pair ; and I always repeat this, 
with your permission, * There are two genuine soldiers in 
the Commonwealth, — I in the kingdom, and Kmita in 
Lithuania,' — a pair of dear doves, is not that true ? Did 
you know him personally ? " 

" Would to God that you were killed ! " thought Kmita ; 
but, remembering Kuklinovski's character of envoy, he an- 
swered aloud : " I did not know him personally. But now 
come in, for the council is waiting." 

When he had said this, he indicated the door through 
which a priest came out to receive the guest. Kuklinovski 
entered the chamber with him at once, but first he turned to 
Kmita : " It would please me," said he, " if at my return you 
and none other were to conduct me out." 

" I will wait here," answered Kmita. And he was left 
alone. After a while he began to walk back and forth with 
quick steps ; his whole soul was roused within him, and his 
heart was filled with blood, black from anger. 

" Pitch does not stick to a garment like evil fame to a 
man," muttered he. "This scoundrel, this wretch, this 
traitor calls me boldly his brother, and thinks he has me as 
a comrade. See to what 1 have come I All gallows-birds 
proclaim me their own, and no decent man calls me to mind 
without horror. 1 have done little yet, little ! If I could 
only give a lesson to this rascal ! It cannot be but that I 
shall put my score on him." 

The council lasted long in the chamber. It had grown 
dark. Kmita was waiting yet. 

At last Kuklinovski appeared. Pan Andrei could not see 
the colonel's face, but he inferred from his quick panting, 
that the mission had failed, and had been also displeasing, 
for the envoy had lost desire for talk. They walked on 
then for some time in silence. Kmita determined mean- 
while to get at the truth, and said with feigned sympathy, — 

"Surely, you are coming with nothing. — Our priests are 
stubborn ; and, between you and me, they act ill, for we can* 
not defend ourselves forever." 


Kuklinovski halted and pulled him by the sleeve. '' And 
do you think that they act ill? You have your senses; 
these priests will be ground into bran, — I guarantee that ! 
They are unwilling to obey Kuklinovski ; they will obey 
his sword." 

" You see, it is not a question of the priests with me," 
said Kmita, *^ but of this place, which is holy, that is not 
to be denied, but which the later it is surrendered the 
more severe must the conditions be. Is what men say 
true, that through the country tumults are rising, that 
here and there they are slashing the Swedes, and that the 
Khan is marching with aid ? If that is true, Miller must 

"I tell you in confidence, a wish for Swedish broth is 
rising in the country, and likely in the army as well ; that is 
true. They are talking of the Khan also. But Miller will 
not retreat ; in a couple of days heavy artillery will come. 
We '11 dig these foxes out of their hole, and then what will 
be will be ! — But you have sense." 

"Here is the gate!" said Kmita; "here I must leave 
you, unless you wish me to attend you down the slope ? " 

" Attend me, attend me ! A couple of days ago you fired 
after an envoy." 

" Indeed ! What do you mean ? " 

"Maybe unwillingly. But better attend me; 1 have a 
few words to say to you." 

"And I to you." 

" That is well." 

They went outside the gate and sank in the darkness. 
Here Kuklinovski stopped, and taking Kmita again by the 
sleeve, began to speak, — 

" You, Sir Cavalier, seem to me adroit and foreseeing, 
and besides I feel in you a soldier, blood and bone. What 
the devil do you stick to priests for, and not to soldiers ? 
Why be a serving lad for priests ? There is a better and 
a pleasanter company with us, — with cups, dice, and women. 
Do you understand ? " 

Here he pressed Kmita's arm with his fingers. " This 
house," continued he, pointing with his finger to the for- 
tress, "is on fire, and a fool is he who flees not from a house 
when 't is burning. Maybe you fear the name of traitor ? 
Spit on those who would call you that ! Come to our com- 
pany; I, Kuklinovski, propose this. Obey, if you like; if 
you don't like, obey not — there will be no offence. General 




Miller will receive you well, I guarantee that ; you have 
touched my heart, and I speak thus from good wishes. 
Ours is a joyous company, joyous ! A soldier's freedom is 
in this, — to serve whom he likes. Monks are nothing to 
you ! If a bit of virtue hinders you, then cough it out. 
Remember this also, that honest men serve with us. How 
many nobles, magnates, hetmans ! What can be better ? 
Who takes the part of our little Kazimir ? No man save 
Sapyeha alone, who is bending Radzivill." 

Kmita grew curious : " Did you say that Sapyeha is bend- 
ing Radzivill ? " 

" I did. He is troubling him terribly there in Podlyasye, 
and is besieging him now in Tykotsin. But we do not dis- 
turb him." 

"Why is that?" 

"Because the King of Sweden wants them to devour one 
another. Radzivill was never reliable ; he was thinking of 
himself. Besides, he is barely breathing. Whoever lets 
himself be besieged is in a fix, he is finished." 

" Will not the Swedes go to succor him ? " 

"Who is to go? The king himself is in Prussia, for 
there lies the great question. The elector has wriggled out 
hitherto ; he will not wriggle out this time. In Great Po- 
land is war, Wittemberg is needed in Cracow, Douglas has 
work with the hill-men ; so they have left Radzivill to him- 
self. Let Sapyeha devour him. Sapyeha has grown, that 
is true, but his turn will come also. Our Karl, when he 
finishes with Prussia, will twist the horns of Sapyeha. 
Now there is no power against him, for all Lithuania 
stands at his side." 

" But Jmud ? " 

" Pontus de la Gardie holds that in his paws, and heavy 
are the paws ; I know him." 

" How is it that Radzivill has fallen, he whose power was 
equal to that of kings ? " 

" It is quenching already, quenching — " 

" Wonderful are the ordinances of God ! " 

"The wheel of war changes. But no more of this. 
Well, what ? Do you make up your mind to my proposi- 
tion ? You '11 not be sorry ! Come to us. If it is too 
hurried to-day, think till to-morrow, till the day after, be- 
fore the heavy artillery comes. These people here trust 
you evidently, since you pass through the gate as you do 
now. Or come with letters and go back no more." 


" You attract others to the Swedish side, for you are an 
envoy of Sweden," said Kniita ; " it does not beseem you 
to act otherwise, though m your soul who knows what you 
think ? There are those who serve the Swedes, but wish 
them ill in their hearts." 

" Word of a cavalier ! " answered Kuklinovski, " that I 
speak sincerely, and not because I am filling the function of 
an envoy. Outside the gate 1 am no longer an envoy ; and 
if you wish I will remove the office of envoy of ^my own 
will, and speak to you as a private man. Throw that vile 
fortress to the devil ! " 

" Do you say this as a private man ? " 

** Yes." 

" And may I give answer to you as to a private man ? " 

" As true as life I propose it myself." 

" Then listen, Pan Kuklinovski." Here Kmita inclined 
and looked into the very eyes of the ruffian. " You are a 
rascal, a traitor, a scoundrel, a crab-monger, an arch-cur ! 
Have you enough, or shall I spit in your eyes yet ? " 

Kuklinovski was astounded to such a degree that for a 
time there was silence. 

** What IS this ? How is this ? Do 1 hear correctly ? " 

" Have you enough, you cur ? or do you wish me to spit in 
your eyes ? " 

Kuklinovski drew his sabre ; but Kmita caught him with 
his iron hand by the wrist, twisted his arm, wrested the 
sabre from him, then slapped him on the cheek so that the 
sound went out in the darkness ; seized him by the other 
side, turned him in his hand like a top, and kicking him 
with all his strength, cried, — 

" To a private man, not to an envoy ! " 

Kuklinovski rolled down like a stone thrown from a 
ballista. Pan Andrei went quietly to the gate. 

The two men parted on the slope of the eminence; hence it 
was difficult to see them from the walls. But Kmita found 
waiting for him at the gate Kordetski, who took him aside 
at once, and asked, — 

*' What were you doing so long with Kuklinovski." 

" I was entering into confidence with him," answered 
Pan Andrei. 

" What did he say ? " 

*' He said that it was true concerning the Khan." 

*' Praise be to God, who can change the hearts of pagans 
and make friends out of enemies." 


" He told me that Great Poland is moving." 

" Praise be to God ! " 

'* That the quarter soldiers are more and more unwilling 
to remain with the Swedes ; that in Podlyasye, the voevoda 
of Vityebsk, Sapyeha, has beaten the traitor Radzivill, and 
that he has all honest people with him. As all Lithuania 
stands by him, except Jmud, which De la Gardie has 

"Praise be to God! Have you had no other talk with 
each other ? " 

" Yes ; Kuklinovski tried afterward to persuade me to 
go over to the Swedes." 

" I expected that," said the prior ; " he is a bad man. 
And what did you answer ? " 

" You see he told me, revered father, as follows : * I put 
aside my office of envoy, which without that is finished be- 
yond the gates, and I persuade you as a private man.' And 
I to make sure asked, * May I answer as to a private man ? ' 
He said, * Yes ' — then — " 

« What then ? " 

"Then I gave it to him in the snout, and he rolled down 

" In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost ! " 

" Be not angry, father ; I acted very carefully, and that 
he will not say a word about the matter to any man is 

The priest was silent for a time, then said ; " That you 
acted honestly, I know. I am only troubled at this, that 
you have gained a new enemy. He is a terrible man." 

" One more, one less ! " said Kmita. Then he bent to 
the ear of the priest. " But Prince Boguslav, he at least 
is an enemy ! What is such a Kuklinovski ? I don't even 
look back at him." 



Now the terrible Arwid Wittemberg made himself heard. 
A famous officer brought his stern letter to the cloister, 
commanding the fathers to surrender the fortress to Miller. 
" In the opposite event," wrote Wittemberg, " if you do 
not abandon resistance, and do not yield to the said general, 
you may be sure that a punishment awaits you which will 
serve others as an example. The blame for your suffering 
lay to yourselves." 

The fathers after receiving this letter determined in old 
fashion to procrastinate, and present new difficulties daily. 
Again days passed during which the thunder of artillery 
interrupted negotiations, and the contrary. 

Miller declared that he wished to introduce his garrison 
only to insure the cloister against bands of freebooters. 
The fathers answered that since their garrison appeared 
sufficient against such a powerful leader as the general 
himself, all the more would it suffice against bands of free- 
booters. They implored Miller, therefore, by all that was 
sacred, by the respect which the people had for the place, 
by God and by Mary, to go to Vyelunie, or wherever it 
might please him. But the patience of the Swedes was 
exhausted. That humility of the besieged, who implored for 
mercy while they were firing more and more quickly from 
cannons, brought the chief and the army to desperation. 

At first Miller could not get it into his head why, when 
the whole country had surrendered, that one place was de- 
fending itself ; what power was upholding them ; in the 
name of what hopes did these monks refuse to yield, for 
what were they striving, for what were they hoping ? 

But flowing time brought more clearly the answer to that 
question. The resistance which had begun there was spread 
ing like a conflagration. In spite of a rather dull brain, the 
general saw at last what the question with Kordetski was ; 
and besides, Sadovski had explained incontrovertibly that it 
was not a question of that rocky nest, nor of Yasna Gora, 
nor of the treasures gathered in the cloister, nor of the 
safety of the Congregation, but of the fate of the whole Com- 


□lODwealth. Miller discovered that that silent priest knew 
what he was doing, that he had knowledge of his mission, 
that be had risen as a prophet to enlighten the land by 
example, — to call with a mighty voice to the east and the 
west, to the nortli and the south, Sursum eorda! (Raise 
your hearts) in order to rouse, either by his victory or 
his death and sacrifice, the sleeping front their slumber, to 
purify the sinful, to bring light into darkness. 

When he had discovered this, that old warrior was simply 
terrified at that defender and at his own task. All at once 
that " hen-house " of Chenstohova seemed to him a giant 
mountain defended by a Titan, and the general seemed 
small to himself; and on his own army he looked, for the 
first time in liis life, as on a handful of wretched worms. 
Was it for them to raise hands against that mysterious and 
heaven-touching power ? Therefore Miller was terrified, 
and doubt began to steal into his heart. Seeing that ttie 
fault would be placed upon liim, he began himself to seek 
the guilty, and his anger fell first on Count Veyhard. Dis- 
putes rose in the camp, and dissensions began to inflame 
Iiearts against one another ; the works of tbe siege had to 
suffer therefrom. 

Miller had been too long accustomed to estimate men and 
events by the common measure of a soldier, not to console 
himself still at times with the thought that at last the for- 
tress would surrender. And taking things in human fashion, 
it could not be otherwise. Besides, Witteraberg was send- 
ing him six siege guns of the he.aviest calibre, which had 
shown their force at Cra«ow. 

" Devil take it ! " thought Miller ; " such walls will not 
stand against guns like these, and it that nest of terrors, 
of superstitions, of enchantment, winds up in smoke, then 
things will take another turn, and the whole country will be 

While waiting for the heavier guns, he commanded to fire 
from the smaller. The days of conflict returned. But in 
vain did balls of fire fall on the roofs, in vain did the best 
gunners exert superhuman power. As often as the wind 
blew away the sea of smoke, the cloister appeared untouched, 
imposing as ever, lofty, with towers piercing calmly the 
blue of the sky. At the same time things hapjiened which 
spread superstitious terror among the besiegers. Now balls 
flew over the whole mountain and struck soldiers on tbe 
other side ; now a gunner, occupied in aiming a gun, fell on 


a sudden ; uow smoke disposed itself in terrible and strange 
forms ; now powder in the boxes exploded all at once, as if 
fired by some invisible hand 

Besides, soldiers were perishing continually who alone, in 
twos or in threes, went out of the camp. Suspicion fell on 
the Polish auxiliary squadrons, which, with the exception 
of Kuklinovski's regiment, refused out and out every co- 
operation in the siege, and showed daily more menacing 
looks. Miller threatened Colonel Zbrojek with a court- 
martial, but he answered in presence of all the officers : 
"Try it, General." 

Omcers from the Polish squadrons strolled purposely 
through the Swedish camp, exhibiting contempt and disre- 
gard for the soldiers, and raising quarrels with the officers. 
Thence it came to duels, in which the Swedes, as less 
trained in fencing, fell victims more frequently. Miller 
issued a severe order against duels, and finally forbade the 
Poles entrance to the camp. From this it came that at last 
both armies were side by side like enemies, merely awaiting 
an opportunity for battle. 

But the cloister defended itself ever better. It turned 
out that the guns sent by Pan Myaskovski were in no wise 
inferior to those which Miller had, and the gunners through 
constant practice arrived at such accuracy that each shot 
threw down an enemy. The Swedes attributed this to 
enchantment. The gunners answered the officers that with 
that power which defended the cloister it was no business 
of theirs to do battle. 

A certain morning a panic began in the southwestern 
trench, for the soldiers had seen distinctly a woman in a 
blue robe shielding the church and the cloister. At sight 
of this they threw themselves down on their faces. In 
vain did Miller ride up, in vain did he explain that mist 
and smoke had disposed themselves in that form, in vain 
besides was his threat of court-martial and punishment. 
At the first moment no one would hear him, espe- 
cially as the general himself was unable to hide his 

Soon after this the opinion was spread tlirough the whole 
army that no one taking part in the siege would die his own 
death. Many officers shared this belief, and Miller was 
not free from fears ; for he brought in Lutheran ministers 
and enjoined on them to undo the enchantment. They walked 
through the camp whispering, aud singing psalms; fear, 


however^ had so spread that more than once they heard 
from the mouths of the soldiers : " Beyond your power, 
beyond your strength ! " 

In the midst of discharges of cannon a new envoy from 
Miller entered the cloister, and stood before the face of 
Kordetski and the council. 

This was Pan Sladkovski, chamberlain of Rava, whom 
Swedish parties had seized as he was returning from 
Prussia. They received him coldly and harshly, though he 
had an honest face and his look was as mild as the sky ; 
but the monks had grown accustomed to see honest faces on 
traitors. He was not confused a whit by such a reception ; 
combing briskly his yellow forelock with his lingers, lie 
began: — 

" Praised be Jesus Christ ! " 

" For the ages of ages ! " answered the Congregation, in a 

And Kordetski added at once: "Blessed be those who 
serve him." 

" I serve him," answered Sladkovski, " and that I serve 
him more sincerely than T do Miller will be shown soon. 
H'm ! permit me, worthy and beloved fathers, to cough, for I 
must first spit out foulness. Miller then — tfu ! sent me, 
my good lords, to you to persuade you — tfu! — to sur- 
render. But 1 accepted the office so as to say to you : De- 
fend yourselves, think not of surrender, for the Swedes are 
spinning thin, and the Devil is taking them by the eye." 

The monks and the laity were astonished at sight of such 
an envoy. Pan Zamoyski exclaimed at once : " As God is 
dear to me, this is an honest man ! " and springing to him 
began to shake his hand ; but Sladkovski, gathering his 
forelock into one bunch, said, — 

" That T am no knave will be shown straightway. I have 
become Miller's envoy so as to tell you news so favorable 
that T could wish, my good lords, to tell it all in one breath. 
Give thanks to (xod and His Most Holy Mother who chose 
you as instruments for changing men's hearts. The country, 
taught by your example and by your defence, is beginning 
to throw off the yoke of the Swedes. What 's the use in 
talking? In Great Poland and Mazovia the ])eoj)le are 
beating the Swedes, destroying smaller parties, blocking 
roads and passages. In some places they have given the 
enemy terrible punishment already. Tlie nobles are 
mounting their horses, the peasants are gathering in crowds, 


and when they seize a Swede they tear straps out of him. 
Chips are flying, tow is flying ! This is what it has come 
to. And whose work is this ? — yours." 

'^ An angel, an angel is speaking ! " cried monks and 
nobles, raising their hands toward heaven. 

" Not an angel, but Sladkovski, at your service. This is 
nothing ! — Listen on. The Khan, remembering the kindness 
of the brother of our rightful king, Yan Kazimir, to whom 
may God give many years! is marching with aid, and has 
already passed the boundary of the Commonwealth. The 
Cossacks who were opposed he has cut to pieces, and is 
moving on with a horde of a hundred thousand toward 
Lvoff, and Hmelnitski nolens volens is coming with him.'' 

" For God's sake, for God^s sake ! " repeated people, 
overcome as it were by happiness. 

But Pan Sladkovski, sweating and waving his hand, with 
still more vigor cried, — 

" That is nothing yet ! Pan Stefan Charnyetski, with 
whom the Swedes violated faith, for they carried captive 
his infantry under Wolf, feels free of his word and is 
mounting. Yan Kazimir is collecting troops, and may re- 
turn any day to the country and the hetmans. Listen further, 
the hetmans, Pototski and Lantskoronski, and with them 
all the troops, are waiting only for the coming of the king 
to desert the Swedes and raise sabres against them. Mean- 
while they are coming to an understanding with Sapyeha 
and the Khan. The Swedes are in terror ; there is fire in 
the whole country, war in the whole country — whosoever 
is living is going to the field ! '' 

What took place in the hearts of the monks and the 
nobles is difficult of description. Some wept, some fell on 
their knees, other repeated, " It cannot be, it cannot be I " 
Hearing this, Sladkovski approached the great crucifix 
hanging on the wall and said, — 

"1 place my hands on these feet of Christ pierced with a 
nail, and swear that I declare the pure and clean truth. I 
repeat only: Defend yourselves, fail not; trust not the 
Swedes; think not that by submission and surrender you 
could insure any safety for yourselves. They keep no 
promises, no treaties. You who are closed in here know not 
what is passing in the whole country, what oppression has 
come, what deeds of violence are done, — murdering of 
priests, profanation of sanctuaries, contempt of all law. They 
promise you everything, they observe nothing. The whole 


kingdom is given up as plunder to a dissolute soldiery. 
Even those who still adhere to the Swedes are unable to 
escape injustice. Such is the punislimeut of God on 
traitors, on those who break faith with the king. Delay ! — 
[, as you see me here, if only I survive, if 1 succeed in 
slipping away from Miller, will move straightway to 
Silesia, to our king. I will fall at his feet and say: 
Gracious King, save Chenstohova and your most faithful 
servants ! But, moat beloved fathers, stand firm, for the 
salvation of the whole Commonwealth is depending upon 

Here Sladkovski's voice trembled, tears appeared on his 
eyelids, but he spoke further. " You will have grievous times 
yet: siege guns are coming from Cracow, which two hun- 
dred infantry are bringing. One is a particularly dreadful 
cannon. Terrible assaults will follow. But these will be 
the last efforts. Endure yet these, for salvation is coming 
already. By these red wounds of God, tlie king, the het- 
mans, the army, the whole Commonwealth will come Ui 
rescue its Patroness. This is what I tell you : rescue, 
salvation, glory is right here — not distant." 

The worthy noble now burst into tears, and sobbing be- 
came universal. 

Ah ! still better news was due to that wearied handful of 
defenders, to that handful of faithful servants, and a sure 
consolation from the country. 

The prior rose, approached Sladkovski, and opened wide 
his arms. Sladkovski rushed into them, and they embraced 
each other long ; others following their example began to 
fall into one another's arms, embrace, kiss, and congratulate 
one another as if the Swedes had already retreated. At last 
the prior said, — 

" To the chapel, my brethren, to the chapel ! " 

He went in advance, and after him the others. All the 
candles were lighted, for it was growing dark outside ; and 
the curtains were drawn aside from the wonder-working 
image, from which sweet abundant rays were scattered at 
once round about. Kordetaki knelt on the steps, farther 
away the monks, the nobles, and common people ; women 
with children were present also. Bale and wearied faces 
and eyes which had wept were raised toward the image ; 
but from behind the tears was shining on each face a smile 
of happiness. Silence continued for a time ; at last Kor 
detski began, — 



" Under thy protection we take refuge, Holy Mother of 
God — " 

Further words stopped on his lips, weariness, long suffer- 
ing, hidden alarms, together with the gladsome hope of 
rescue, rose in him like a mighty wave ; therefore sobbing 
shook his breast, and that man, who bore on his shoulders 
the fate of the whole country, bent like a weak child, fell 
on his face, and with weeping immeasurable had strength 
only to cry ; " Mary, Mary, Mary ! " 

All wept with him, but the image from above cast 
brightest rays. 

It was late at night when the monks and the nobles went 
each his own way to the walls ; but Kordetski remained all 
night lying in the chapel in the form of a cross. There were 
fears in the cloister that weariness might overpower him ; 
but next morning he appeared on the bastions, went among 
the soldiers and the garrison, glad and refreshed, and here 
and there he repeated, — 

"Children, the Most Holy Lady will show again that she 
is mightier than siege guns, and then will come the end of 
your sorrows and torments." 

That morning Yatsek Bjuhanski, an inhabitant of Chensto- 
hova, disguised as a Swede, approached the walls to confirm 
the news that great guns were coming from Cracow, but also 
that the Khan with the horde was approaching. He de- 
livered a letter from Father Anton Pashkovski, of the mon- 
astery at Cracow, who, describing tl)e terrible cruelty and 
robbery of the Swedes, incited and implored the fathers of 
Vasna Gora to put no trust in the promises of the enemy, 
but to defend the sacred i)lace patiently against the inso- 
lence of the godless. 

" There is no faith in the Swedes," wrote Father Pash- 
kovski, " no religion. Nothing divine or human is sa- 
cred and inviolate for them. It is not their custom to 
respect anything, though guarded by treaties or public 

That was the day of the Immaculate Conception. Some 
tens of officers and soldiers of the allied Polish squadrons 
besought with most urgent requests Miller's permission 
to go to the fortress for divine service. Perhaps Miller 
thought that they would become friendly with the garrison, 
carry news of the siege guns and spread alarm ; perhaps he 
did not wish by refusing to cast sparks on inflammable ele- 
ments, which without that made relations between the Poles 


and the Swedes more and more dangerous : 't is enough that 
he gave the permission. 

With these quarter soldiers went a certain Tartar of the Po- 
lish Mohammedan Tartars. He, amid universal astonishment, 
encouraged the monks not to yield their holy place to vile 
enemies, considering with certainty that the Swedes would 
soon go away with shame and defeat. The quarter soldiers 
repeated the same, confirming completely the news brought 
by Sladkovski. All this taken together raised the courage 
of the besieged to such a degree that they had no fear of 
those gigantic cannons, and the soldiers made sport of them 
among themselves. 

After services firing began on both sides. There was a 
certain Swedish soldier who had come many times to the 
wall, and with a trumpet-like voice had blasphemed against 
the Mother of God. Many a time had the besieged fired at 
him, but always without result. Kmita aimed at him once, 
but his bow-string broke; the soldier became more and 
more insolent, and roused others by his daring. It was 
said that he had seven devils in his service who guarded 
and shielded him. 

He came this day again to blaspheme ; but the besieged, 
trusting that on the day of the Immaculate Conception en- 
chantments would have less effect, determined to punish him 
without fail. They fired a good while in vain ; at last a can- 
non ball, rebounding from an ice wall, and tripping along the 
snow like a bird, struck him straight in the breast and tore 
him in two. The defenders comforted themselves with this 
and cried out : ^* Who will bhispheme against Her another 
time ? " Meanwhile the revilers had rushed down to the 
trenches, in panic. 

The Swedes fired at the walls and the roofs ; but the balls 
brought no terror to the besieged. 

The old beggarwoman, Konstantsia, who dwelt in a 
cranny of the cliff, used to go, as if in ridicule of the Swedes, 
along the whole slope, gathering bullets in lier apron, and 
threatening from time to time the soldiers with her staff. 
They, thinking her a witch, were afraid she would injure 
them, especially when they saw that bullets did not touch 

Two whole days passed in vain firing. They hurled on 
the roof ship ropes very thickly steeped in pitch ; these flew 
like fiery serpents ; but the guards, trained in a masterly 
manner, met the danger in time. A night came with sucn 


darkness that, in spite of the fires, tar bai'rels, and the fire- 
works of Father Lyassota, the besieged could see nothing. 

Meanwhile some uncommon movement reigned among the 
Swedes. The squeak of wheels was heard, men's voices, at 
times the neighing of horses, and various other kinds of up- 
roar. The soldiers on tlie walls guessed the cause easily. 

" The guns have come surely," said some. 

The officers were deliberating on a sortie which Charnyet- 
ski advised ; but Zamoyski opposed, insisting, with reason, 
that at such iinportant works the enemy must have secured 
themselves sufficiently, and must surely hold infantry in 
readiness. They resolved merely to fire toward the north 
and south, whence the greatest noise came. It was impos- 
sible to see the result in the darkness. 

Day broke at last, and its first rays exposed the works of 
the Swedes. North and south of the fortress were intrench- 
ments, on which some thousands of men were employed. 
These mtrenchments stood so high that to the besieged the 
summits of them seemed on a line with the walls of the 
fortress. In the openings at the top were seen great jaws 
of guns, and the soldiers standing behind them looked at a 
distance like swarms of yellow wasps. 

The morning Mass was not over in the church when unu- 
sual thunder shook the air ; the window-panes rattled ; some of 
them dropped out of the frames from shaking alone, and were 
broken with a sharp shiver on the stone floor ; and the whole 
church was filled with dust which rose from fallen plaster. 

The great siege guns had spoken. 

A terrible fire l)egan, such as the besieged had not ex- 
perienced. At the end of Mass all rushed out on the walls 
and roofs. The preceding storms seemed innocent play in 
comparison with this terrible letting loose of fire and iron. 

The smaller pieces thundered in support of the siege 
guns. Great bombs, pieces of cloth steeped in pitch, 
torches, and fiery ropes were flying. Balls twenty-six 
pounds in wt*ight tore out battlements, struck the walls 
of buildings ; some settled in them, others made great holes, 
tearing off plaster and bricks. The walls surrounding the 
cloister began to shake here and there and lose pieces, 
and struck incessantly by new balls threatened to fall. 
The buildings of the cloister were covered with fire. 

The trumpeters on the tower felt it totter under them. 
The church quaked from continuous pounding, and candles 
fell out of the sockets at some of the altars. 


Water was poured iu immense quantities on the fires that 
had begun, on the blazing torches, on the walls, on the fire 
balls ; and formed, together with the smoke and the dust, 
rolls of steam so thick that light could not be seen through 
them. Damage was doue to the walls and buildings. The 
cry, " It is burning, it is burning I " was heard oftener amid 
the thunder of cannon and the whistle of bullets. At the 
northern bastion the two wheels of a cannon were broken, 
and one injured cannon was silent. A ball ha<l fallen into 
a. stable, killed three horses, and set tire to the building. 
Xot only balls, but bits of grenades, were falling as thickly 
as rain on the roofs, the bastions, and the walls. 

In a short time the groans of the wounded were lieard. 
By a strange chance three young men fell, all named Van. 
This amazed other defenders bearing the same name; but 
in general the defence was woithy of the storm. Even 
women, children, and old men came out on the walls. 
Soldiers stood there with unterritied heart, iu smoke and 
fire, amid a rain of missiles, and answered with determina- 
tion to the fire of the enemy. Some seized the wheels and 
rolled the caonon to the most exposed places i others thrust 
into breaches in the walls stones, beams, dung, and earth. 

Women with dishevelled hair and inflamed faces gave an 
example of daring, and some were seen running with buckets 
of water after bombs which were still springing and ready 
to burst right there, that moment. Ardor i-ose every 
iDBtant, as if that smell of powder, smoke, and steam, that 
thunder, those streams of tire and iron, had the property of 
rousing it. All acted without command, for words died 
amid the awful noise. Only the supplications which were 
Bong in the chapel rose above the voices of cannon. 

About noon firing ceased. All drew breath ; but before 
the gate a drum was sounded, and the drummer sent by 
Miller, approaching the gate, inquired if the fathers lu>d 
had enough, and if they wished to surrender at oncf. 
Kordetaki answered that they would delitwrate over thf 
question till morning. The answer had barely reached 
Uiller when the attack began anew, and the artillery tire 
was redoubled. 

From time to time deei) ranks of infantry pushed for- 
ward under fire towanl the mountain, ns if wishing to try an 
assault ; but decimated by cannon and muskets, they returned 
each time quickly and in disorder under their own batteries. 
A8 a wave of the sea covers the shore and when it retreats 


leaves on the sand weeds, mussels, and various fragments 
broken in the deep, so each one of those Swedish waves 
when it sank back left behind bodies thrown here and 
there on the slope. 

Miller did not give orders to fire at the bastions, but at 
the wall between them, where resistance was least. Indeed, 
here and there considerable rents were made, but not large 
enough for the infantry to rush through. 

Suddenly a certain event checked the storm. 

It was well toward evening when a Swedish gunner 
about to apply a lighted match to one of the largest guns 
was struck in the very breast by a ball from the cloister. 
The ball came not with the first force, but after a third 
bound from the ice piled up at the intrenchment ; it merely 
hurled the gunner a number of yards. He fell on an open 
box partly filled with powder. A terrible explosion was 
heard that instant, and masses of smoke covered the trench. 
When the smoke fell away it appeared that five gunners 
had lost their lives ; the wheels of the cannon were injured, 
and terror seized the soldiers. It was necessary to cease fire 
for the time from that intrenchment, since a heavy fog had 
filled the darkness ; they also stopped firing in other places. 

The next day was Sunday. Lutheran ministers held 
services in the trenches, and the guns were silent. Miller 
again inquired if the fathers had had enough. They an- 
swered that they could endure more. 

Meanwhile the damage in the cloister was examined and 
found to be considerable. People were killed and the wall 
was shaken here and there. The most formidable gim was 
a gigantic culverin standing on the north. It had broken 
the wall to such a degree, torn out so many stones and 
bricks, that the besieged could foresee that should the fire 
continue two days longer a considerable part of the wall 
would give away. 

A breach such as the culverin would make could not be 
filled with beams or earth. The prior foresaw with an eye 
full of sorrow the ruin which he could not prevent. 

Monday the attack was begun anew, and the gigantic gun 
widened the breach. Various mishaps met the Swedes, 
however. About dusk that day a Swedish gunner killed 
on the spot Miller's sister's son, whom the general loved as 
though he had been his own, and intended to leave him all 
that he had, — beginning with his name and military 
reputation and ending with his fortune. But the heart of 


the old warrior blazed up with hatred all the more from 
this loss. 

The wall at the northern bastion was so broken that 
preparations were made in the night for a hand-to-hand 
assault. That the infantry might approach the fortress 
with less danger, Miller commanded to throw up in the 
darkness a whole series of small redoubts, reaching the 
very sloj)e. But the night was clear, and white light from 
the snow betrayed the movements of the enemy. The 
cannons of Yasna Gora scattered the men occupied in mak- 
ing those parapets formed of fascines, fences, baskets, and 

At daybreak Charnyetski saw a siege machine which they 
had already rolled toward the walls. But the besieged broke 
it with cannon fire without difficulty ; so many men were 
killed on that occasion that the day might have been called 
a day of victory for the besieged, had it not been for 
that great gun which shook the wall incessantly with 
irrestrainable power. 

A thaw came on the following days, and such dense mists 
settled down that the fathers attributed them to the action 
of evil spirits. It was iimpossible to see either the 
machines of war, the erection of parapets, or the work of 
the siege. The Swedes came near the very walls of the 
cloister. In the evening Charnyetski, when the prior was 
making his usual round of the walls, took him by the side 
and said in a low voice, — 

** Bad, revered father ! Our wall will not hold out be- 
yond a day." 

** Perhaps these fogs will prevent them from firing," 
answered Kordetski ; **and we meanwhile will repair the 
rents somehow." 

"The fogs will not prevent the Swedes, for that gun 
once aimed may continue even in darkness the work of 
destruction ; but here the ruins are falling and falling." 

" In God and in the Most Holy Lady is our hope." 

" True ! But if we make a sortie ? Even were we to 
lose men, if they could only spike that dragon of hell." 

Just then some form looked dark in the fog, and 
Babinich appeared near the speakers. 

" I saw that some one was speaking; but faces cannot be 
distinguished three yards away," said he. *^ Good evening, 
revered father ! But of what is the conversation ? " 

" We are talking of that gun. Pan Charnyetski advises a 


sortie. These fogs are spread by Satan ; I have commanded 
an exorcism." 

"Dear father," said Pan Andrei, ** since that gun has 
begun to shake the wall, I am thinking of it, and something 
keeps coming to ray head. A sortie is of no use. But let 
us go to some room ; there I will te]l you my plans." 

" Well," said the prior, " come to my cell." 

Soon after they were sitting at a pine table in Kordetski's 
modest cell. Charnyetski and the priest were looking 
carefully into the youthful face of Babinich, who said, — 

" A sortie is of no use in this case. They will see it and 
repulse it. Here one man must do the work." 

" How is that ? " asked Charnyetski. 

" One man must go and burst that cannon with powder ; 
and he can do it during such fogs. It is best that he go in 
disguise. There are jackets here like those worn by the 
enemy. As it will not be possible to do otherwise, he will 
slip in among the Swedes; but if at this side of the trench 
from which the gun is projecting there are no soldiers, that 
will be better still." 

*' For God's sake ! what will the man do ? " 

"It is only necessary to put a box of powder into the 
mouth of the gun, with a hanging fuse and a thread to be 
ignited. When the powder explodes, the gun — devil I 
wanted to say — will burst." 

" Oh, my son ! what do you say ? Is it little powder 
that they thrust into it every day, and it does not 
burst ? " 

Kmita laughed, and kissed the priest on the sleeve of his 
habit. ** Beloved lather, there is a great heart in you, 
heroic and holy — " 

" Give peace now ! " answered the prior. 

" And holy," repeated Kmita ; " but you do not under- 
stand cannon. It is one thing when powder bursts in the 
butt of the cannon, for then it casts forth the ball and the 
force flies out forward, but another if you stop the mouth 
of a gun with powder and ignite it, — no cannon can stand 
such a trial. Ask Pan Charnyetski. The same thing will 
take place if you fill the mouth of a cannon with snow 
and fire it ; the piece will burst. Such is the villanous 
power of powder. Wliat will it be when a whole box of 
it explodes at the mouth ? Ask Pan Charnyetski." 

"That is true. These are no secrets for soldiers,'' 
answered Charnyetski. 


"You see if this gun is burst," continued Kmita, "all 
the rest are a joke." 

" This seems impossible to me," said Kordetski ; " for, 
first, who will undertake to do it ? " 

" A certain poor fellow," said Kmita ; " but he is resolute, 
his name is Babinich." 

" You ! " cried the priest and Charnyetski together. 

" Ai, father, benefactor ! I was with you at confession, 
and acknowledged all my deeds in sincerity ; among them 
were deeds not worse than the one I am now planning ; 
how can you doubt that I will undertake it ? Do you not 
know me?" 

" He is a hero, a knight above knights," cried Charnyetski. 
And seizing Kmita by the neck, he continued : " Let me 
kiss you for the wish alone ; give me your mouth." 

" Show me another remedy, and I will not go," said 
Kmita; "but it seems to me that I shall manage this 
matter somehow. Remember that I speak German as if T 
had been dealing in staves, wainscots, and wall plank in 
Dantzig. That means much, for if I am disguised they will 
not easily discover that I am not of their camp. But I 
think that no one is standing before the mouth of the 
cannon ; for it is not safe there, and I think that I shall do 
the work before they can see me." 

"Pan Charnyetski, what do you think of this?" asked 
the prior, quickly. 

" Out of one hundred men one might return from such an 
undertaking; but audaces fortuna juvat [fortune favors 
the bold]." 

" I have been in hotter places than this," said Kmita : 
" nothing will happen to me, for such is my fortune. Ai, 
beloved father, and what a difference ! Ere now to exhibit 
myself, and for vainglory, I crawled into danger ; but this 
undertaking is for the Most Holy Lady. Even should I 
have to lay down my head, which I do not foresee, say 
yourself could a more praiseworthy dea* h be wished to any 
man than down there in this cause ? " 

The priest was long silent, and then said at last, — 

" I should try to restrain you with persuasion, with 
prayers and imploring, if you wished to go for mere glory ; 
but you are right : this is a question affecting the honor of 
the Most Holy Lady, this sacred place, the whole country ! 
And you, my son, whether you return safely or win the 
palm of glory, you will gain the supreme happiness, — 


salvation. Against my heart then I say, Gro ; I do not detain 
you. Our prayers, the protection of God, will go with you." 

" In such company I shall go boldly and perish with joy." 

" But return, soldier of God, return safely ; for you are 
loved with sincerity here. May Saint Raphael attend you 
and bring you back, cherished son, ray dear child ! " 

" Then I will begin preparations at once," said Pan An- 
drei, joyfully pressing the priest. " I will dress in Swedish 
fashion with a jacket and wide-legged boots. I will fill in 
the powder, and do you, father, stop the exorcisms for 
this night ; fog is needful to the Swedes, but also to me." 

" And do you not wish to confess before starting ? " 

" Of course, without that I should not go ; for the devil 
would have approach to me." 

" Then begin with confession." 

Charnyetski went out of the cell, and Kmita knelt down 
near the priest and purged himself of his sins. Then, 
gladsome as a bird, he began to make preparations. 

An hour or two later, in the deep night, he knocked 
again at the prior's cell, where Pan Charnyetski also was 

The two scarcely knew Pan Andrei, so good a Swede had 
he made himself. He had twirled his mustaches to his 
eyes and brushed them out at the ends ; he had put his hat 
on one side of his head, and looked precisely like some 
cavalry officer of noted family. 

" As G^d lives, one would draw a sabre at sight of him," 
said Charnyetski. 

"Put the light at a distance," said Kmita; "I will show 
you something." 

When Father Kordetski had put the light iiside quickly, 
Pan Andrei placed on a table a roll, a foot and a half long 
and as thick as the arm of a sturdy man, sewn up in 
pitched linen and tilled firmly with powder. From one end 
of it was hanging a long string made of tow steeped in 

** Well," said he, " when I put this flea-bane in the 
mouth of the cannon and ignite the string, then its belly 
will burst." 

" Lucifer would burst ! " cried Pan Charnyetski. But 
he remembered that it was better not to mention the name 
of the foul one, and he slapped his own mouth. 

" But how will you set fire to the string ? " asked 


" In that lies the whole danger, for I must strike fire. I 
have good flint, dry tinder, and steel of the best ; but there 
will be a noise, and they may notice something. The 
string I hope will not quench, for it will hang at the beard 
of the gun, and it will be hard to see it, especially as it 
will hide itself quickly in burning; but they may pursue 
me, and I cannot flee straight tow aid the cloister." 

" Why not ?" asked the priest. 

" For the explosion would kill me. The moment I see the 
spark on the string I must jump aside with all the strength 
in my legs, and when I have run about Hfty yards, must 
fall to the ground under the intrenchment. After the 
explosion I shall rush toward the cloister.-' 

*' My God, my God, how many dangers ! " said the prior, 
raising his eyes to heaven. 

"Beloved father, so sure am I of returning that even emo- 
tion does not touch me, which on an occasion like this ought 
to seize me. This is nothing ! Farewell, and pray the Lord 
God to give me luck. Only conduct me to the gate." 

" How is that ? Do you want to go now ? " asked Char- 

" Am I to wait till daylight, or till the fog rises ? Is not 
my head dear to me ? " 

But Pan Andrei did not go that night, for just as they came 
to the gate, darkness, as if out of spite, began to grow light. 
Some movement too was heard around the great siege gun. 

Next morning the besieged were convinced that the gun 
was transferred to another place. 

The Swedes had received apparently some report of a great 
weakness in the wall a little beyond the bend near the south- 
em bastion, and they determined to direct missiles to that 
spot. Maybe too the prior was not a stranger to the affair, 
for the day before they had seen old Kostuha (Konstantsia) 
going out of the cloister. She was employed chiefly when 
there was need of giving false reports to the Swedes. Be 
that as it may, it was a mistake on their part ; for the be- 
sieged could now repair in the old place the wall so greatly 
shaken, and to make a new breach a number of days would 
be needed. 

The nights were clear in succession, the days full of up- 
roar. The Swedes fired with terrible energy. The spirit of 
doubt began again to fly over the fortress. Among the l)e- 
sieged were nobles who wished to surrender ; some of the 
monks too had lost heart. The opposition gained strength 


and importance. The prior made head against it with un- 
restrained energy, but his health began to give way. Mean- 
while came reinforcements to the Swedes and supplies from 
Cracow, especially terrible explosive missiles in the form 
of iron cylinders filled with powder and lead. These caused 
more terror than damage to the litjsieged. 

Kmita, from the time that he had conceived the plan 
of bursting the siege gun, secreted himself in the fortress. 
He looked every day at the roll, with heart-sickness. On 
reflection he made it still larger, so that it was almost an 
ell long and as thick as a boot-leg. In the evening he cast 
greedy looks toward the gun, then examined the sky like an 
astrologer. But the bright moon, shining on the snow con- 
tinually, baffled his plan. 

All at once a thaw came ; clouds covered the horizon, and 
the night was dark, — so dark that even strain your eyes 
you could see nothing. Pan Andrei fell into such humor as 
if some one had given him the steed of the Sultan ; and mid- 
night had barely sounded when he stood before Charnyetski 
in his cavalry dress, the roll under his arm. 

" 1 am going ! " said he. 

" Wait, I will speak to the prior.*' 

** That is well. Kiss me. Pan Pyotr, and go for the prior." 

Charnyetski kissed him with feeling, and turned away. 
He had hardly gone thirty steps when Kordetski stood 
before him in white. He had guessed that Kmita was 
going, and had come there to bless him. 

** Babinich is ready ; he is only waiting for your reverence." 

" I hurry, I hurry ! " answered the priest. " Mother of 
God, save him and aid him ! " 

After a while both were standing at the opening where 
Charnyetski left Kmita, but there was no trace of him. 

" He has gone ! " said the prior, in amazement. 

** He has gone I " repeated Charnyetski. 

** But, the traitor ! " said the prior, with emotion, ** I in- 
tended to put this little scapular on his neck." 

Both ceased to speak ; there was silence around, and as 
the darkness was dense there was firing from neither side. 
On a sudden Charnyetski whispered eagerly, — 

"As God is dear to me, he is not even trying to go in 
silence ! Do you hear steps crushing the snow ? " 

" Most Holy Lady, guard thy servant ! " said the prior. 

Both listened carefully for a time, till the brisk steps and 
the noise on the snow had ceased. 


" Do you know, your reverence, at moments 1 think that 
he will succeed, and I fear nothing for him. The strange man 
went as if he were going to an inn to drink a glass of liquor. 
What courage he has in him ! Either he will lay down his 
head untimely, or he will be hetman. H'm ! if 1 did not 
know him as a servant of Mary, I should think that he has — 
God give him success, God grant it to him ! for such another 
cavalier there is not in the Commonwealth." 

" It is so dark, so dark ! " said Kordetski ; " but they are 
on their guard since the night of your sortie. He might come 
upon a whole rank before he could see it." 

" I do not think so. The infantry are watching, that I 
know, and watch carefully ; but they are in the intrench- 
ment, not before the muzzles of their own cannon. If they 
do not hear the steps, he can easily push under the intrench- 
raent, and then the height of it alone will cover him — Uf ! " 

Here Charnyetski puffed and ceased speaking; for his 
heart began to beat like a hammer from expectation and 
alarm, and breath failed him. 

Kordetski made the sign of the cross in the darkness. 

A third person stood near the two. This was Zamoyski. 

" What is the matter ? " asked he. 

**Babinich has gone to blow up the siege gun.'' 

" How is that ? What is that ? " 

*' He took a roll of powder, cord, and flint, and went." 

Zamoyski pressed his head between his hands. 

" Jesus, Mary ! Jesus, Mary ! All alone ? " 

" All alone." 

" Who let him go ? That 's an impossible deed ! " 

" I. For the might of God all things are possible, even 
his safe return," said Kordetski. 

Zamoyski was silent. Charnyetski began to pant from 

" Let us pray," said the prior. 

The three knelt down and began to pray. But anxiety 
raised the hair on the heads of both knights. A quarter of 
an hour passed, half an hour, an hour as long as a lifetime. 

" There will be nothing now ! " said Charnyetski, sighing 

All at once in the distance a gigantic column of flame burst 
forth, and a roar as if all the thunders of heaven had been 
hurled to the earth ; it shook the walls, the church, and the 

** He has burst it, he has burst it ! " shouted Charnyetski. 



New explosions interrupted further speech of his. 

Kordetski t<hrew himself on his knees, and raising his 
hands, cried to heaven, *^ Most Holy Mother, Guardian, 
Patroness, bring him back safely ! " 

A noise was made on the walls. The garrison, not know- 
ing what had happened, seized their arms. The monks 
rushed from their cells. No one was sleeping. Even women 
sprang forth. Questions and answers crossed one another 
like lightnings. 

" What has happened ? "' 

" An assault ! " 

" The Swedish gun has burst ! " cried one of the can- 

" A miracle, a miracle ! '' 

" The largest gun is burst ! '' 

" That great one ! " 

" Where is the prior ? " 

" On the wall. He is praying ; he did this." 

" Babinich burst the gun ! " cried Charnyetski. 

" Babinich, Babinich ! Praise to the Most Holy Lady ! 
They will harm us no longer." 

At the same time sounds of confusion rose from the 
Swedish camp. In all the trenches fires began to shine. 
An increasing uproar was heard. By the light of the fires 
masses of soldiers w^ere seen moving in various directions 
without order, trumpets sounded, drums rolled continually ; 
to the walls came shouts in which alarm and amazement 
were heard. 

Kordetski continued kneeling on the wall. 

At last the night began to grow pale, but Babinich came 
not to the fortress. 



What had happened to Pan Andrei, and in what way had 
he been able to carry out his plan ? 

After leaving the fortress he advanced some time with a 
sure and wary step. At the very end of the slope he halted 
and listened. It was silent around, — so silent in fact that 
his steps were heard clearly on the snow. In proportion as 
he receded from the walls, he stepped more carefully. He 
halted again, and again listened. He was somewhat afraid 
of slipping and falling, and thus dampening his precious 
roll ; he drew out his rapier therefore and leaned on it. That 
helped him greatly. Thus feeling his way, after the course 
of half an hour he heard a slight sound directly in front. 

" Ah ! they are watching. The sortie has taught them 
wariness," thought he. 

And he went farther now very slowly. He was glad that 
he had not gone astray, for the darkness was such that he 
could not see the end of the rapier. 

" Those trenches are considerably farther : I am advan- 
cing well then ! " whispered he to himself. 

He hoped also not to find men before the intrenchment ; 
for, properly speaking, they had nothing to do there, espe- 
cially at night. It might be that at something like a hun- 
dred or fewer yards apart single sentries were stationed ; 
but he hoped to pass them in such darkness. It was joy- 
ous in his soul. 

Kmita was not only daring but audacious. The thought 
of bursting the gigantic gun delighted him to the bottom 
of his soul, — not only as heroism, not only as an immortal 
service to the besieged, but as a terrible damage to the 
Swedes. He imagined how Miller would be astounded, 
how he would gnash his teeth, how he would gaze in help- 
lessness on those walls; and at moments pure laughter 
seized him. 

And as he had himself said, he felt no emotion, no fear, 
no unquiet. It did not even enter his head to what an 
awful danger he was exposing himself. He went on as 
a school-boy goes to an orchard to make havoc among 


apples. He recalled other times when he harried Hovanski, 
stcue up at night to a camp of thirty thousand with two 
hundred such hghters as himself. 

His comrades stood before his mind: Kokosinski, the 
gigantic Kulvyets-Hippocentaurus, the spotted Ranitski, of 
senatorial stock, and others ; then for a moment he sighed 
after them. " If they were here now," thought he, " we 
might blow up six guns." Then the feeling of loneliness 
oppressed him somewhat, but only for a short while ; soon 
memory brought before his eyes Olenka. Love spoke in 
him with immeasurable power. He was moved to tender- 
ness. If she could see him, the heart would rejoice in her 
this time. Perhaps she thinks yet that he is serving the 
Swedes. He is serving them nicely! And soon he will 
oblige them! What will happen when she learns of all 
these perils ? What will she think ? She will think surely, 
" He is a whirlwind, but when it comes to a deed which no 
other can do, he will do it ; where another dares not go, he 
will go. Such a man is that Kmita ! " 

** Another such deed I shall never accomplish," said Pan 
Andrei ; and boastfulness seized him completely. Still, in 
spite of these thoughts he did not forget where he was, 
whither he was going, what he intended to do j and he be- 
gan to advance like a wolf on a night pasture. He looked 
behind once and a second time. No church, no cloister ! 
All was covered with thick, impenetrable gloom. He noted, 
however, by the time, that he must have advanced far al- 
ready, and that the trench might be right there. 

" I am curious to know if there are sentries," thought he. 

But he had not advanced two steps after giving himself 
this question, when, in front of him, was heard the tramp 
of measured steps and a number of voices inquired at 
various distances, — 

" Who goes ? " 

Pan Andrei stood as if fixed to the earth. He felt hot. 

" Ours," answered a number of voices. 

" The watchword I " 

" Upsala." 

"The counter-sign!" 

"The crown." 

Kmita saw at this moment that there was a change of 
sentries. " T '11 give you Upsala and a crown ! " And he 
rejoiced. This was really for him a very favorable circum- 
stance, for he might pass the line of guards at the moment 


of changing sentries, when the tramp of the soldiers 
drowned his own steps. 

In fact, he did so without the least difficulty, and went 
after the returning soldiers rather boldly up to the trench 
itself. There they made a turn to go around it; but he 
pushed quickly into the ditch and hid in it. 

Meanwhile objects had become somewhat more visible ; 
Pan Andrei thanked Heaven, for in the previous darkness 
he could not by feeling liave found the gun sought for. 
Now, by throwing back his head and straining his vision, 
he saw above him a black line, indicating the edge of the 
trench, and also the black outlines of the baskets between 
whicli stood the guns. 

He could indeed see their jaws thrust out a little above 
the trench. Advancing slowly in the ditch, he discovered 
the great gun at last. He halted and began to listen. From 
the intrenchment a noise came, — a murmur ; evidently the 
infantry were near the guns, in readiness. But the height 
of the intrenchment concealed Kmita; they might hear 
him, they could not see him. Now he had only to rise 
from below to the mouth of the gun, which was high above 
his head. 

Fortunately the sides of the ditch were not too steep ; 
and besides the embankment freshly made, or moist with 
water, had not frozen, since for some time there had been 
a thaw. 

Taking note of all this, Kmita began to sink holes quietly 
in the slope of the intrenchment and to climb slowly to the 
gun. After fifteen minutes' work he was able to seize the 
opening of the culverin. Soon he was hanging in the air, 
but his uncommon strengtli permitted him to hold himself 
thus till he pushed the roll into the jaws of the cannon. 

" Here 's dog sausage for thee I '' muttered he ; " only 
don't choke with it ! " 

Then he slipped down aud began to look for the string, 
which, fastened to the inner side of the roll, was hanging to 
the ditch. After a while he felt it with his hand. But 
then came the greatest difficulty, for he had to strike fire 
and ignite the string. 

Kmita waited for a moment, thinking that the noise 
would increase somewhat among the soldiers in the breast- 
works. At last he began to strike the flint lightly with 
the steel. But that moment above his head was heard in 
Oerman the question, — 

VOL IL — 5 


" Who is there in the ditch ? " 

'^ It is I, Hans ! " answered Kmita, without hesitation ; 
" the devils have taken my ramrod into the ditdh, and I 
am striking fire to find it." 

" All right, all right," said the gunner. *' It is your luck 
there is no firing, for the wind would have taken your head 

" Ah ! " thought Kmita, " the gun besides my charge has 
still its own, — so much the better." 

At that moment the sulphur-string caught, and delicate 
little sparks began to run upward along its dry exterior. 

It was time to disappear. Kmita hurried along the ditch 
with all the strength in his legs, not losing an instant, not 
thinking overmuch of the noise he was making. But when 
he had run twenty yards, curiosity overcame in him the 
feeling of his terrible danger. 

"The string has gone out, there is moisture in the air ! " 
thought he ; and he stopped. Casting a look behind, he 
saw a little spark yet, but mu(ih higher than he had left it. 

" Eh, am I not too near ? " thought he ; and fear hurried 
him forward. 

He pushed on at full speed ; all at once he struck a stone 
and fell. At that moment a terrible roar rent the air ; the 
earth trembled, pieces of wood, iron, stones, lumps of ice 
and earth, whistled about his ears, and here his sensations 

After that were heard new explosions in turn. These 
were powder-boxes standing near the cannon which ex- 
ploded from the shock. 

But Kmita did not hear these ; he lay as if dead in the 
ditch. He did not hear also how, after a time of deep 
silence, the groans of men were heard, cries and shouts for 
help; how nearly half the army, Swedish and allied, 

The confusion and uproar lasted long, till from the chaos 
of testimony the Swedish general reached the fact that the 
siege-gun had been blown uj) of purpose by some one. 
Search was ordered immediately. In the morning the 
searching soldiers found Kmita lying in tlie ditch. 

It appeared that he was merely stunned from the ex- 
plosion. He had lost, to begin with, control of his hands 
and feet. His powerlessness lasted the whole ensuing 
day. They nursed him with the utmost care. In the even- 
ing he had recovered his power almost completely. 


He was brought then by command before Miller, who 
occupied the middle place at the table in his quarters; 
around him sat the Prince of Hesse, Count Veyhard, Sadov- 
ski, all the noted officers of the Swedes, of the Poles, 
Zbrojek, Kalinski, and Kuklinovski. The last at sight of 
Kmita became blue, his eyes burned like two coals, and his 
mustaches began to quiver. Without awaiting the question 
of the general, he said, — 

" 1 know this bird. He is from the Chenstohova garrison. 
His name is Babinich.'* 

Kmita was silent ; pallor .and weariness were evident on 
his face, but his glance was bold and his countenance calm. 

" Did you blow up the siege-gun ? " asked Miller. 

" I did." 

" How did you do it ? " 

Kmita stated all briefly, concealed nothing. The officers 
looked at one another in amazement. 

" A hero ! " whispered the Prince of Hesse to Sadovski. 

But Sadovski inclined to Count Veyhard. *• Count Vey- 
hard," asked he, " how are we to take a fortress with such 
defenders ? What do you think, will they surrender ? " 

** There are more of us in the fortress ready for such 
deeds," said Kmita. *' You know not the day nor the 

" I too have more than one halter in the camp," said 

"We know that. But you will not take Yasna Gora 
while there is one man alive there." 

A moment of silence followed. Then Miller inquired, — 

"Is your name Babinich ? " 

Pan Andrei thought that after what he had done, and in 
presence of death, the time had come in which he had no 
need to conceal his name. Let people forget the faults and 
transgressions bound up with it ; let glory and devotion shine 
over them. 

"My name is not Babinich," said he,' with a certain pride, 
" my name is Andrei Kmita ; I was colonel of my own per- 
sonal squadron in the Lithuanian contingent." 

Hardly had Kuklinovski heard this when he si)rang up 
as if possessed, stuck out his eyes, opened his mouth, and 
began to strike his sides with his hands. At last he cried, — 

" General, I beg for a word without delay, without delay." 

A murmur rose at the same time among the Polish officers, 
which the Swedes heard with wonder, since for them the 


name K mita meant nothing. They noted at once that this 
must be no common soldier, for Zbrojek rose, and approach- 
ing the prisoner said, — 

" Worthy colonel, in the straits in which you are I can- 
not help you ; but give me your hand, I pray.'' 

Kmita raised his head and began to snort. 

" I will not give a hand to traitors who serve against their 

country ! " 

Zbrojek 's face flushed. Kalinski, who stood right behind 
him, withdrew. The Swedish officers surrounded them at 
once, asking what man this Kmita was whose name had 
made such an impression. During this time Kuklinovski 
had squeezed Miller up to the window, and said, — 

" For your worthiness the name Kmita is nothing ; but he 
is the first soldier, the first colonel, in the whole Common- 
wealth. All know of him, all know that name; once he 
served Radzivill and the Swedes; now it is clear that he 
has gone over to Yan Kazimir. There is not his equal 
among soldiers, save me. He was the only man who could 
go alone and blow up that gun. From this one deed you 
may know him. He fought Hovanski, so that a reward was 
put on his head. He with two or three hundred men kept 
up the whole war after the defeat at Shklov, until others 
were found who, imitating him, began to tear at the enemy. 
He is the most dangerous man in all the country — '' 

" Why do you sing his praises to me ? " inquired Miller. 
" That he is dangerous I know to my own irreparable loss." 

*^ What does your worthiness think of doing with him ? " 

" 1 should give orders to hang him ; but being a soldier 
myself, I know how to value daring and bravery. Besides, 
he is a noble of high birth, — I will order him shot, and 
that torday." 

" Your worthiness, it is not for me to instruct the most 
celebrated soldier and statesman of modern times; but 1 
permit myself to say that that man is too famous. If you 
shoot him, Zbrojek's squadron and Kalinski's will withdraw 
at the latest this very day, and go over to Yan Kazimir." 

"If that is true, 1 '11 have them cut to pieces before they 
go ! " cried Miller. 

" Your worthiness, a terrible responsibility ! for if that 
becomes known, — and the cutting down of two squadrons 
is hard to hide, — the whole Polish army will leave Karl 
Gustav ; at present their loyalty is tottering, as you know. 
The hetmans are not reliable. Pan Konyetspolski with six 


thousand of the best cavalry is at the side of our king. That 
force is no trifle. God defend us if these too should turn 
against us, against the person of his Royal Grace ! Besides, 
this fortress defends itself ; and to cut down the squadrons 
of Zbrojek and Kalinski is no easy matter, for Wolf is here 
too with his infantry. They might come to an agreement 
with the garrison of the fortress." 

" A hundred horned devils I " cried Miller ; " what do you 
want, Kuklinovski ? do you want me to give Kmita his life ? 
That cannot be." 

" I want," answered Kuklinovski, "you to give him to me." 

" What will you do with him ? " 

" Ah, I — will tear him alive from his skin." 

" You did not know even his real name, you do not know 
him. What have you against him ? " 

" I made his acquaintance first in the fortress, where I 
have been twice as an envoy to the monks." 

" Have you reasons for vengeance ? " 

" Your worthiness, I wished privately to bring him to 
our camp. He, taking advantage of the fact that I laid 
aside my office of envoy, insulted me, Kuklinovski, as no 
man in life has insulted me." 

« What did he do to you ? " 

Kuklinovski trembled and gnashed his teeth. " Better 
not speak of it. Only give him to me. He is doomed to 
death anyhow, and I would like before his end to have a 
little amusement with him, — all the more because he is 
the Kmita whom formerly I venerated, and who repaid me 
in such fashion. Give him to me ; it will be better for you. 
If I rub him out, Zbrojek and Kalinski and with them all 
the Polish knighthood will fall not upon you, but upon me, 
and I '11 help myself. There will not be anger, wry faces, 
and mutiny. It will be my private matter about Kmita's 
skin, of which I shall have a drum made." 

Miller fell to thinking ; a sudden suspicion flashed over 
his face. 

" Kuklinovski," said he, " maybe you wish to save him ? " 

Kuklinovski smiled quietly, but that smile was so terrible 
and sincere that Miller ceased to doubt. 

"Perhaps you give sound advice," said he. 

" For all my services I beg this reward only." 

" Take him, then." 

Now both returned to the room where the rest of the 
officers were assembled. Miller turned to them and said, — 


" 111 view of the services of Pan Kuklinovski I place at 
his absolute disposal this prisoner/' 

A moment of silence followed ; then Pan Zbrojek put 
his hands on his sides, and asked with a certain accent of 
contempt, — 

" And what does Pan Kuklinovski think to do with the 
l)risoner ? " 

Kuklinovski bent, straightened himself quickl}', his lips 
opened with an ill-omened smile, and his eyes began to 

" Whoso is not pleased with what I do to the prisoner, 
knows where to find me." And he shook his sabre. 

" Your promise, Pan Kuklinovski," said Zbrojek. 

" Promise, promise ! " 

When he had said this he approached Kmita. " Follow 
me, little worm ; come after me, famous soldier. Thou 'rt 
a trifle weak ; thou needst swathing, — I '11 swathe thee." 

*< Ruffian ! " said Kmita. 

" Very good, very good, daring soul ! Meanwhile step 

The officers remained in the room ; Kuklinovski mounted 
his horse before the quarters. Having with liim three sol- 
diers, he commanded one of them to lead Kmita by a lariat ; 
and all went together toward Lgota, where Kuklinovski's 
regiment was quartered. 

On the way Kmita prayed ardently. He saw that death 
was approaching, and he committed himself with his whole 
soul to God. He was so sunk in prayer and in his own doom 
that he did not hear what Kuklinovski said to him ; he did 
not know even how long the road w^as. 

They stopped at last before an empty, half-ruined barn, 
standing in the open field, at some distance from the 
quarters of Kuklinovski's regiment. The colonel ordered 
them to lead Kmita in, and turning himself to one of 
the soldiers, said, — 

" Hurry for me to the camp, bring ropes and a tar bucket ! " 

The soldier galloped with all the breath in his horse, and 
in quarter of an hour returned at the same pace, with a 
comrade. They had brought the requisite articles. 

" Strip this spark naked ! " ordered Kuklinovski ; " tie his 
hands and feet behind him with a rope, and then fasten him 
to a beam." 

" Ruffian ! " said Kmita. 

" Good, good ! we can talk yet, we have time ! " 


Meanwhile one of the soldiers climbed up on the beanij 
and the others fell to dragging the clothes from Kiuita. 
When he was naked the three executioners placed Pan 
Andrei with his face to the ground, bound his hands and 
feet with a long rope, then passing it still around his waist 
they threw the other end to the soldier sitting on the beam. 

" Now raise him, and let the man on the lE)eani pull the 
rope and tie it ! " said Kuklinovski. 

In a moment the order was obeyed. 

" Let him go ! '' 

The rope sciueaked. Pan Andrei was hanging parallel 
with the earth, a few ells above the threshing-floor. Then 
Kuklinovski dii)ped tow in the burning tar-bucket, walked 
up to him, and said, — 

"Well, Pan Kmita, did not I say that tliere are two 
colonels in the Commonwealth ? — only two, I and thou ! 
And thou didst not wish to join company with Kuklinovski, 
and kicked him ! Well, little worm, thou art right ! Not 
for thee is the company of Kuklinovski, for Kuklinovski is 
better. Hei ! a famous colonel is Pan Kmita, and Kukli- 
novski has him in his hand, and Kuklinovski is roasting 
his sides!" 

" Ruffian ! " repeated Kmita, for the third time. 

" This is how he will roast his sides ! " finished Kukli- 
novski, and he touched Kmita's side with the burning tow ; 
then he said, — 

"Not too much at first ; we have time." 

Just then the tramp of horses was heard near the barn- 

" Whom are the devils bringing ? " asked Kuklinovski. 

The door squeaked and a soldier entered. " General 
Miller wishes to see your grace at once ! " 

" Ah ! that is thou, old man ? " asked Kuklinovski. 
" What business ? What devil ? " 

"The general asks your grace to come to him 

" Who came from the general ? " 

" There was a Swedish officer ; he has ridden off already. 
He had almost driven the breath out of his horse.'- 

" I '11 go," said Kuklinovski. Then he turned to Kmita : 
" It was hot for thee ; cool off now, little worm. I '11 come 
again soon, we'll have another talk." 

" What shall be done with the prisoner ? " asked one of 
the soldiers. 


" Leave him as he is. I shall return directly. Let one 
go with rae.'* 

The colonel went out, and with him that soldier who had 
sat on the beam at first. There remained only three, but 
soon three new ones entered the barn. 

" You may go to sleep," said he who had reported Miller's 
order to Kuklinovski, " the colonel has left the guard to 

"We prefer to remain," replied one of the first three 
soldiers, "to see the wonder; for such a — " 

Suddenly he stopped. A certain unearthly sound was 
wrested from his throat like the call of a strangled cock. 
He threw out his arms and fell as if struck by lightning. 

At the same moment the cry of "Pound" was heard 
through the barn, and two of the newly arrived rushed like 
leopards on the two remaining soldiers. A terrible, short 
struggle surged up, lighted by the gleams of the burning 
tar-bucket. After a moment two bodies fell in the straw, 
for a moment longer were heard the gasps of the dying, 
then that voice rose which at first seemed familiar to Kmita. 

" Your grace, it is I, Kyemlich, and my sons. We have 
been waiting since morning for a chance, we have been 
watching since morning." Then he turned to his sons : 
"Now out, rogues, free the colonel in a breath, — quickly ! " 

And before Kmita was able to understand what was tak- 
ing place there appeared near him the two bushy forelocks 
of Kosma and Damian, like two gigantic distaffs. The 
ropes were soon cut, and Kmita stood on his feet. He 
tottered at first; his stiffened lips were barely able to 
say, — 

" That is you ? — I am thankful." 

" It is I ! " answered the terrible old man. " Mother of 
God ! Oh — let his grace dress quickly. You rogues — " 
And he began to give Kmita his clothes. 

" The horses are standing at the door," said he. " From 
here the way is open. There are guards; maybe they 
would let no one in, but as to letting out, they will let 
out." We know the password. How does your grace 
feel ? " 

"He burned my side, but only a little. My feet are 
weak — " 

"Drink some gorailka." 

Ejnita seized with eagerness the flask the old man gave 
him, and emptying half of it said, — 


" I was stiff from the cold. I shall be better at once." 

" Your grace will grow warm on the saddle. The horses 
are waiting." 

" In a moment I shall be better," repeated Kmita. " My 
side is smarting a little — that 's nothing ! — I am quite 
well." And he sat on the edge of a grain-bin. 

After awhile he recovered his strength really, and looked 
with perfect presence of mind on the ill-omened faces of 
the three Kyemliches, lighted by the yellowish flame of the 
burning pitch. The old man stood before him. 

"Your grace, there is need of haste. The horses are 

But in Pan Andrei the Kmita of old times was roused 

" Oh, impossible ! " cried he, suddenly ; " now I am waiting 
for that traitor." 

The Kyemliches looked amazed, but uttered not a 
word, — so accustomed were they from former times to 
listen blindly to this leader. 

The veins came out on his forehead ; his eyes were burn- 
ing in the dark, like two stars, such was the hate and the 
desire of vengeance that gleamed in them. That which he 
did then was madness, he might pay for it with his life ; 
but his life was made up of a series of such madnesses. 
His side pained him fiercely, so that every moment he 
seized it unwittingly with his hand ; but he was thinking 
only of Kuklinovski, and he was ready to wait for him even 
till morning. 

« Listen ! " said he ; " did Miller really call him ? " 

*' No," answered the old man. " I invented that to 
manage the others here more easily. It would have been 
hard for us three against five, for some one might have 
raised a cry." 

"That was well. He will return alone or in company. 
If there are any people with him, then strike at once 
on them. Leave him to me. Then to horse ! Has any 
one pistols?" 

" I have," said Kosma. 

" Give them here ! Are they loaded, is there powder in 
the pan ? " 

" Yes.'' 

"Very well. If he comes back alone, when he enters 
spring on him and shut his mouth. You can stuff his own 
cap into it." 


"According to command," said the old man. "Your 
grace permits us now to search these ? We are poor men." 

He pointed to the corpses lying on the straw. 

"No! Be on the watch. What you find on Kuklinovski 
will be yours." 

" If he returns alone," said the old man, " I fear nothing. 
I shall stand behind the door ; and even if some one from 
the quarters should come, 1 shall say that the colonel gave 
orders not to admit." 

" That will do. Watch ! " 

The tramp of a horse was heard behind the barn. 
Kmita sprang up and stood in the shadow at the wall. 
Kosma and l3amian took their places near the door, like 
two cats waiting for a mouse. 

" He is alone," said the old man. 

" Alone," repeated Kosma and Damiaii. 

The tramp approached, was right there and halted 

" Come out here, some one, — hold the horse ! " 

The old man jumped out (juickly. A moment of silence 
followed, then to those waiting in the barn came the 
following conversation, — 

" Is that you, Kyemlich ? What the thunder ! art mad, 
or an idiot ? It is night. Miller is aslfeep. The guard will 
not give admission ; they say that no officer went away. 
How is that ? " 

" The officer is waiting here in the Imrn for your grace. 
He came right away after you rode off; he says that he 
missed your grace." 

" What does all this mean ? But the prisoner ? " 

"Is hanging." 

The door squeaked, and Kuklinovski pushed into the 
barn ; but before he had gone a step two iron hands caught 
him by the throat, and smothered his cry of terror. 
Kosma and Damian, with the adroitness of genuine mur- 
derers, hurled him to the ground, put their knees on his 
breast, pressed him so that his ribs began to crack, and 
gagged him in the twinkle of an eye. 

Kmita came forward, and holding the pitch light to his 
eyes, said, — 

"Ah ! this is Pan Kuklinovski ! Now I have something 
to say to you ! " 

Kuklinovski's face was blue, the veins were so swollen 
that it seemed they might burst any moment ; but in his 


eyes, which were coming out of his head and bloodshot, 
there was quite as much wonder as terror. 

" Strip him and put him on the beam ! '' cried Kmita. 

Kosma and Damian fell to stripping him as zealously as 
if they wished to take the skin from him together with his 

In a quarter of an hour Kuklinovski was hanging by 
his hands and feet, like a half goose, on the beam. 
Then Kmita put his hands on his hips and began to 
brag terrribly. 

" Well, Pan Kuklinovski," said he, " who is better, Kmita 
or Kuklinovski ? " Then he seized the burning tow and 
took a step nearer. " Thy camp is distant one shot from a 
bow, thy thousand ruffians are within call, there is thy 
Swedish general a little beyond, and thou art hanging here 
from this same beam from which 'twas thy thought to 
roast me. — Learn to know Kmita ! Thou hadst the 
thought to be equal to Kmita, to belong to his company, 
to be compared with him ? Thou cut-purse, thou low 
ruffian, terror of old women, thou offscouring of man, Lord 
Scoundrel of Scoundrelton ! Wry-mouth, trash, slave! I 
might have thee cut up like a kid, like a capon ; but 
I choose to roast thee alive as thou didst think to roast 

Saying this, he raised the tow and applied it to the side 
of the hanging, hapless man ; but he held it longer, until the 
odor of the burned flesh began to spread through the barn. 

Kuklinovski writhed till the rope was swinging with him. 
His eyes, fastened on Kmita, expressed terrible pain and a 
dumb imploring for pity ; from his gagged lips came woful 
groans ; but war had hardened the heart of Pan Andrei, 
and there was no pity in him, above all, none for traitors. 

Removing at last the tow from Kuklinovski's side, he 
put it for a while under his nose, rubbed with it his 
mustaches, his eyelashes, and his brows ; then he said, — 

" I give thee thy life to meditate on Kmita. Thou wilt 
hang here till morning, and now pray to God that people 
find thee before thou art frozen." 

Then he turned to Kosma and Damian. ** To horse ! " 
cried he, and went out of the barn. 

Half an hour later around the four riders were quiet hills, 
silent and empty fields. The fresh breeze, not filled with 
smoke of powder, entered their lungs. Kmita rode ahead, 
the Kyemliches after him. They spoke in low voices. Pan 


Andrei was silent, or rather he was repeating in silence the 
morning " Our Father," for it was not long before dawn. 

From time to time a hiss or even a low groan was rent 
from his lips, when his burned side pained him greatly. 
But at the same time he felt on horseback and free ; and the 
thought that he had blown up the greatest siege gun, and 
besides that had torn himself from the hands of Kukli- 
novski and had wrought vengeance on him, filled Pan 
Andrei with such consolation that in view of it the pain 
was nothing. 

Meanwhile a quiet dialo'^e between the father and the 
sons turned into a loud dispute. 

" The money belt is good," said the greedy old man ; " but 
where are the rings ? He had rings on his fingers ; in one 
was a stone worth twenty ducats." 

" I forgot to take it," answered Kosma. 

"I wish you were killed! Let the old man think of 
everything, and these rascals have n't wit for a copper I 
You forgot the rings, you thieves ? You lie like dogs ! " 

"Then turn back, father, and look," muttered Damian. 

" You lie, you thieves ! You hide things. You wrong 
your old father, — such sons ! I wish that I had not begot- 
ten you. You will die without a blessing." 

Kmita reined in his horse somewhat. "Come this 
way!" called he. 

The dispute ceased, the Kyemliches hurried up, and they 
rode farther four abreast. 

" And do you know the road to the Silesian boundary ? " 
asked Pan Andrei. 

" O Mother of (Jod ! we know, we know," answered the 
old man. 

" There are no Swedish parties on the road ? " 

" Ko, for all are at Chenstohova, unless we might meet a 
single man ; but God give us one ! " 

A moment of silence followed. 

" Then you served with Kuklinovski ? " asked Kmita. 

" We did, for we thought that being near we might serve 
the holy monks and your grace, and so it has happened. 
We did not serve against the fortress, — (Jod save UvS 
from that! we took no pay unless we found something 
on Swedes." 

"How on Swedes ? ' 

"For we wanted to serve the Most Holy Lady even 
outside the walls ; therefore we rode around the camp at 



nfght or in the daytime, as the Lord Grod gave us ; and 
when any of the Swedes happened alone, then we — that is 
— Reiuge of sinners ! — we — *' 

" Pounded him ! '' finished Kosma and Damian. 

Kmita laughed. ** Kukliuovski had good servants in you. 
But did he know about this ? " 

" He received a share, an income. He knew, and the 
scoundrel commanded us to give a thaler a head. Other- 
wise he threatened to betray us. Such a robber, — he 
wronged poor men ! And we have kept faith with your 
grace, for not such is service with you. Your grace adds 
besides of your own ; but he, a thaler a head, for our toil, 
for oup labor. On him may God — '* 

" I will reward you abundantly for what you have done," 
said Kmita. " I did not expect this of you." 

The distant sound of guns interrupted further words. 
Evidently the Swedes had begun to fire with the first dawn. 
After a while the roar increased. Kmita stopped his horse ; 
it seemed to him that he distinguished the sound of the 
fortress cannon from the cannon of the Swedes ; therefore 
he clinched his fist, and threatening with it in the direction 
of the enemies' camp said, — 

" Fire away, fire away I Where is your greatest gun 
now ? " 



The bursting of the gigantic culverin had really a crush- 
ing effect uiK)n Miller, for all his hopes had rested hitherto 
on that gun. Infantry were ready for the assault, ladders 
and piles of fascines were collected ; but now it was neces- 
sary to abandon all thought of a storm. 

The plan of blowing up the cloister by means of mines 
came also to nothing. Miners brought in i)reviously from 
Olkush split, it is true, the rock, and approached on a diago- 
nal to the cloister ; but work progressed slowly. The work- 
men, in spite of every precaution, fell frequently from the 
guns of the church, and labored unwillingly. Many of 
them preferred to die rather than aid in the destruction of 
a sacred place. 

Miller felt a daily increasing opposition. The frost took 
away the remnant of courage from his unwilling troops, 
among whom terror was spreading from day to day with a 
belief that the capture of the cloister did not lie within 
human power. 

Finally Miller himself began to lose hope, and after the 
bursting of the gun he was simply in despair; a feeling of 
helplessness and impotence took possession of him. Next 
morning he called a council, but he called it with the secret 
wish to hear from officers encouragement to abandon the 

They began to assemble, all wearied and gloomy. In 
silence they took their places around a table in an enor- 
mous and cold room, in which the steam from their breaths 
stood before their faces, and they looked from behind it as 
from l)ehind a cloud. Each one felt in his soul exhaustion 
and weariness ; each one said to himself : " There is no cotm- 
sel to give save one, which it is better for no man to be the 
first to give.'' All waited for what Miller would say. He 
ordered first of all to bring plenty of heated wine, hoping 
that under the influence of warm drink it would be easier 
to obtain a real thought from those silent figures, and 
encouragement to retreat from the fortress. 

At last, when he supposed that the wine had produced its 
effect, he spoke in the following words : — 


" Have you noticed, gentlemeD, that none of the Polish 
colonels have come to this council, though I summoned them 
all ? " 

" It is known of course to your worthiness that servants 
of the Polish squadron have, while fishing, found silver be- 
longing to the cloister, and that they fought for it with our 
soldiers. More than ten men have been cut down." 

" I know ; I succeeded in snatching a part of that silver 
from their hands, indeed the greater part. It is here now, 
and I am thinking what to do with it." 

" This is surely the cause of the anger of the Polish 
colonels. They say that if the Poles found the silver, it 
belongs to the Poles.'' 

" That 's a reason ! " cried Count Veyhard. 

"For my mind, it is a strong reason," said Sadovski ; 
"and I think that if you had found the silver you would 
not feel bound to divide it, not only with the Poles, but even 
with me, a Cheh." 

"First of all, my dear sir, I do not s^are your good will 
for the enemies of our king," answered the count, with a 

" But we, thanks to you, must share with you shame and 
disgrace, not being able to succeed against a fortress to 
which you have brought us." 

" Tlien have you lost all hope ? " 

•' But have you any yourself to give away ? " 

"Just as if you knew ; and I think that these gentlemen 
share more willingly with me in my ho|>e, than with you in 
vour fear." 

" Do you make me a coward, Count Veyhard ? " 

"I do not ascribe to you more courage than you show." 

" And I ascribe to you less." 

" But I," said Miller, who for some time had looked on the 
count with dislike as the instigator of the ill-starred under- 
taking, " shall have the silver sent to the cloister. Perhaps 
kindness and graciousness will do more with these surly 
monks than balls and cannon. T^et them und(»rstand that 
we wish t^ possess the fortress, not their treasures." 

The officers looked on Miller with wonder, so little 
accustomed were they to magnanimity from him. At last 
Sadovski said, — 

"Nothing l)ett€ir could be done, for it will close at once the 
mouths of the Polish colonels who lay claim to the silver. 
In the fortress it will surely make a good impression.** 


" The death of that Kmita will make the best impression," 
answered Count Veyhard. " I hope that Kuklinovski has 
already torn him out of his skin." 

" I think that he is no longer alive," said Miller. " But 
that name reminds me of our loss, which nothing can 
make good. That was the greatest gun in the whole 
artillery of his grace. I do not hide from you, gentlemen, 
that all my hopes were placed on it. The breach was 
already made, terror was spreading in the fortress. A 
couple of days longer and we should have moved to a 
storm. Now all our labor is useless, all our exertions 
vain. They will repair the wall in one day. And the 
guns which we have now are no better than those of 
the fortress, and can be easily dismounted. No larger ones 
can be had anywhere, for even Marshal Wittemberg has n't 
them. The more I ponder over it, the more the disaster 
seems dreadful. And to think that one man did this, — 
one dog ! one Satan ! I shall go mad ! To all the horned 
devils ! " 

Here Miller struck the table with his fist, for unrestrained 
anger had seized him, the more desperately because he was 
powerless. After a while he cried, — 

"But what will the king say when he hears of this 
loss ? " After a while he added : " And what shall we do ? 
We cannot gnaw away that cliif with our teeth. Would 
that the plague might strike those who persuaded me 
to come to this fortress ! " 

Having said this, he took a crystal goblet, and in his 
excitement hurled it to the floor so that the crystal was 
broken into small bits. 

This unbecoming frenzy, more befitting a peasant than a 
warrior holding such a high office, turned all hearts from 
him, and soured good-humor completely. 

" Give counsel, gentlemen ! " cried Miller. 

"It is possible to counsel, but only in calmness," an- 
swered the Prince of Hesse. 

Miller began to puff and blow out his anger through his 
nostrils. After a time he grew calm, and passing his eyes 
over those present as if encouraging them with a glance, 
he said, — 

" I ask your pardon, gentlemen, but my anger is not 
strange. I will not mention those places which, when 
I had taken command after Torstenson, I captured, for 
I do not wish, in view of the present disaster, to boast 


of past fortune. All that is done at this fortress simply 
passes reason. But still it is necessary to take counsel. 
For that purpose I have summoned you. Deliberate, then, 
and what the majority of us determine tit this council will 
be done." 

" Let your worthiness give us the subject for deliberar 
tion," said the Prince of Hesse. " Have we to deliberate 
only concerning the capture of the fortress, or also con- 
cerning this, whether it is better to withdraw ? *' 

Miller did not wish to put the question so clearly, or at 
least he did not wish the ** either — or," to come first from 
his mouth ; therefore he said, — 

" Let each speak clearly what he thinks. It should be 
a question for us of the profit and praise of the king." 

But none of the officers wished more than Miller to 
appear first with the proposition to retreat, therefore 
there was silence again. 

" Pan Sadovski," said Miller after a while, in a voice 
which he tried to make agreeable and kind, <'you say 
what you think more sincerely than others, for your 
reputation insures you against all suspicion." 

" I think, General," answered the colonel, " that Kmita 
was one of the greatest soldiers of this age, and that 
our position is desperate." 

"But you were in favor of withdrawing from the 
fortress ? " 

" With permission of your worthiness, I was only in 
favor of not beginning the siege. That is a thing quite 

" Then what do you advise now ? " 

" Now I give the floor to Count Veyhard." 

Miller swore like a pagan. 

" Count Veyhard will answer for this unfortunate affair," 
said he. 

" My counsels have not all been carried out," answered 
the count, insolently. " I can boldly cast responsibility 
from myself. There were men who with a wonderful, 
in truth an inexplicable, good-will for the ])riests, dis 
suaded his worthiness from all severe measures. My 
advice was to hang those envoy priests, and 1 am con- 
vinced that if this had been done terror would have 
opened to us before this time the gates of that hen-house." 

Here the count looked at Sadovski ; but before the latter 
had answered, the Prince of Hesse interfered: "Count, 

VOL. II. —6 


do not call that fortress a hen-house, for the more you 
decrease its importance the more you increase our shame." 

" Xevertheless I advised to hang the envoys. Terror 
and always terror, that is what 1 repeated from morning 
till night; but Pan Sadovski threatened resignation, and 
the priests went unharmed." 

" Go, Count, to-day to the fortress," answered Sadovski, 
"blow up with powder their greatest gun as Kmita did 
ours, and 1 guarantee that, tliat will spread more terror 
than a murderous execution of envoys." 

The count turned directly to Miller : " Your worthi- 
ness I thought we head come here for counsel and not for 

" Have you an answer to baseless reproaches ? " asked 

" I have, in spite of the joyousness of these gentlemen, 
who might save their humor for better times." 

" Oh, son of Laertes, famous for stratagems ! " exclaimed 
the Prince of Hesse. 

" Gentlemen," answered the count, *' it is universally 
known that not Minerva but Mars is your guardian deity ; 
but since Mars has not favored you, and you have re- 
nounced your right of speech, let me speak." 

" The mountain is beginning to groan, and soon we shall 
see the small tail of a mouse," said Sadovski. 

" I ask for silence ! " said Miller, severely. " Speak, 
Count, but keep in mind that up to this moment your 
counsels have given bitter fruit." 

" Which, though it is winter, we must eat like mouldy 
biscuits," put in the Prince of Hesse. 

"This explains why your princely highness drinks so 
much wine," said (>ount Veyhard ; " and though it does 
not take the place of native wit, it helps you to a happy 
digestion of even disgrace. But no matter ! I know well 
that there is a party in the fortress which is long desirous 
of surrender, and that only our weakness on one side and 
the superhuman stubbornness of the prior on the other keep 
it in check. New terror will give this party new power ; 
for this purpose we should show that we make no account 
of the loss of the gun, and storm the more vigorously." 

« Is that all ? " 

" Even if it were all, I think that such counsel is more in 
accordance with the honor of Swedish soldiers than barren 
jests at cups, or than sleeping after drinking-bouts. But 


that is not all. We should spread the report among 
our soldiers, and especially among the Poles, that the 
men at work now making a mine liave discovered the 
old underground i)assage leading to tlie cloister and the 

"That is good counsel/' said Miller. 

" When this report is spread among the soldiers and the 
Poles, the Poles themselves will persuade the monks to 
surrender, for it is a question witli them as with the 
monks, that that nest of superstitions should remain 

" For a Catholic that is not bad ! " muttered Sadovski. 

"If he served the Turks he would call Kome a nest 
of superstitions," said the Prince of Hesse. 

" Then, beyond doubt, the Poles will send envoys to the 
priests," continued Count Veyhard, — "that party in the 
cloister, which is long anxious for surrender will renew its 
efforts under the influence of fear ; and who knows but its 
members will force the prior and the stubborn to open the 
gates ? " 

" The city of Priam will perish through the cunning of 
the divine son of Laertes," declaimed the Prince of Hesse. 

" As God lives, a real Trojan history, and he thinks he 
has invented something new ! " said Sadovski. 

But the advice pleased Miller, for in very truth it was 
not bad. The party which the count si>oke of existed 
really in the cloister. Even some priests of weaker 
soul belonged to it. Besides, fear might extend among 
the garrison, including even those who so far were ready 
to defend it to the last drop of blood. 

" Let us try, let us try ! " said Miller, who like a drown- 
ing man seized every plank, and from despair passed easily 
to hope. "But will Kuklinovski or Zbrojek agree to go 
again as envoys to the cloister, or will they believe in that 
passage, and will they inform the priests of it ? " 

" In every case Kuklinovski will agree," answered the 
count ; " but it is better that he should believe really in the 
existence of the passage." 

At that moment they heard the tramp of a horse in 
front of the quarters. 

" There, Pan Zbrojek has come ! " said the Prince of 
Hesse, looking through the window. 

A moment later spurs rattled, and Zbrojek entered, or 
rather rushed into the room. His face was pale, excited; 


and before the officers could ask the cause of his excite- 
ment the colonel cried, — 

" Kuklinovski is no longer living ! " 

" How ? What do you say ? What has happened ? " ex- 
claimed Miller. 

" Let me catch breath," said Zbrojek, " for what I have 
seen passes imagination." 

" Talk more quickly. Has he been murdered ? '- cried all. 

" By Kmita," answered Zbrojek. 

The officers all sprang from their seats, and began to look 
at Zbrojek as at a madman ; and he, while blowing in quick 
succession bunches of steam from his nostrils, said, — 

" If I had not seen I should not have believed, for that is 
not a human power. Kuklinovski is not living, three sol- 
diers are killed, and of Kmita not a trace. I knew that he 
was a terrible man. His reputation is known in the whole 
country. But for him, a prisoner and bound, not only to 
free liimself, but to kill the soldiers and torture Kuklinov- 
ski to death, — that a man could not do, only a devil ! " 

" Nothing like that has ever happened ; that 's impos- 
sible of belief ! " whispered Sadovski. 

" That Kmita has shown what he can do," said the Prince 
of Hesse. " We did not believe the Poles yesterday when 
they told us what kind of bird he was j we thought they 
were telling big stories, as is usual with them." 

" Enough to drive a man mad," said the count. 

Miller seized his head with his hands, and said nothing. 
When at last he raised his eyes, flashes of wrath were cross- 
ing in them with flashes of suspicion. 

" Pan Zbrojek," said he, " though he were Satan and not 
a man, he could not do this without some treason, without 
assistance. Kmita hatl his admirers here; Kuklinovski his 
enemies, and you belong to the number." 

Zbrojek was in the full sense of the word an insolent sol- 
dier ; therefore when he heard an accusation directed against 
himself, he grew still paler, sprang from his place, approached 
Miller, and halting in front of him looked him straight in 
the eyes. 

" Does your worthiness suspect me ? " inquired he. 

A very oppressive moment followed. The officers present 
had not the slightest doubt were Miller to give an affirmative 
answer something would follow terrible and unparalleled in 
the history of camps. All hands rested on their rapier hilts. 
Sadovski even drew his weapon altogetlier. 


But at that moment the officers saw before the window a 
yard filled with Polish horsemen. Probably they also had 
come with news of Kuklinovski, but in case of collision they 
would stand beyond doubt on Zbrojek's side. Miller too 
saw them, and though the paleness of rage had come on his 
face, still he restrained himself, and feigning to see no chal- 
lenge in Zbrojek's action, he answered in a voice which he 
strove to make natural, — 

" Tell in detail how it happened.'' 

Zbrojek stood for a time yet with nostrils distended, but 
he too remembered himself; and then his thoughts turned 
in another direction, for his comrades, who had just ridden 
up, entered the room. 

" Kuklinovski is murdered ! " repeated they, one after an- 
other. " Kuklinovski is killed ! His regiment will scatter ! 
His soldiers are going wild ! " 

" Gentlemen, permit Pan Zbrojek to speak ; he brought 
the news first," cried Miller. 

After a while there was silence, and Zbrojek spoke as 
follows, — 

" It is known to you, gentlemen, that at the last council I 
challenged Kuklinovski on the word of a cavalier. I was 
an admirer of Kmiti, it is true ; but even you, though his 
enemies, must acknowledge that no common man could have 
done such a deed as bursting that cannon. It behooves us 
to esteem daring even in an enemy ; therefore I offered him 
my hand, but he refused his, and called me a traitor. Then 
I thought to myself, * Let Kuklinovski do what he likes with 
him.' My only other thought was this : * If Kuklinovski acts 
against knightly honor in dealing with Kmita, the disgrace of 
his deed must not fall on all Poles, and among others on me.' 
For that very reason I wished surely to fight with Kukli- 
novski, and this morning tJikiug two comrades, I set out for 
his camp. We come to his (juarters ; they say there, * He is 
not at home.' I send to this i)lace, — he is not here. At his 
quarters they tell us, < He has not returned the whole night' 
But they are not alarmed, for they think that he has re- 
mained with your worthiness. At last one soldier says, 
' Last evening he went to that little barn in the field with 
Kmita, whom he was going to burn there.' I ride to the 
barn ; the doors are wide open. I enter ; I see inside a naked 
body hanging from a beam. • That is Kmita,' thought I ; 
but when my eyes have grown used to the darkness, I see 
that the body is some thin and l)ony one, and Kmita looked 


like a Hercules. It is a wonder to me that he could shrink 
so much in one night. I draw near — Kuklinovski ! " 

" Hanging from the beam ? '* asked Miller. 

" Exactly I I make the sign of the cross, — I think, * Is it 
witchcraft, an omen, deception, or what ? ' Hut wlien I saw 
three corpses of soldiers, the truth stood as if living before 
me. That terrible man had killed these, hung Kuklinovski, 
burned him like an executioner, and then escaped.'' 

** It is not far to the Silesian boundary," said Sadovski. 

A moment of silence followed. lilvery suspicion of Zbro- 
jek's participation in the affair was extinguished in Miller's 
soul. But the event itself astonished and filled him with a 
certain undefined fear. He saw dangers rising around, or 
rather their terrible shadows, against which he knew not 
how to struggle ; he felt that some kind of chain of failures 
surrounded him. The first links were before his eyes, but 
farther the gloom of the future was lying. «Iust such a feel- 
ing mastered him as if he were in a cracked house which 
might fall on his head any moment. Uncertainty crushed 
him with an insuppoi*table weight, and he asked himself 
what he had to lay hands on. 

Meanwhile Count Veyhard struck himself on the forehead. 
"As God lives," said he, " when I saw this Kmita yesterday- 
it seemed as if I had known him somewhere. Now again 
I see before me that face. I remember tiie sound of his 
voice. I must have met him for a short time and in the dark, 
in the evening ; but he is going through my head, — going — " 
Here he began to rub his forehead with his hand. 

" What is that to us ? " asked Miller ; "you will not mend 
the gun, even should you remember ; you will not bring 
Kuklinovski to life." 

Here he turned to the officei*s. ** Gentlemen, come with 
me, whoso wishes, to the scene of this deed." 

All wished to go, for curiosity was exciting them. Horses 
were brought, and they moved on at a trot, the general at 
the head. When they came to the little barn they saw a 
number of tens of Polish horsemen scattered around that 
building, on the road, and along the field. 

" What men are they ? " asked Miller of Zbrojek. 

*' They must be Kuklinovski's ; I tell your worthiness that 
those ragamuffins have simply gone wild." 

Zbrojek then beckoned to one of the horsemen, — 

" Come this way, come this way. Quickly ! " 

The soldier rode up. 


" Are you Kuklinovski's men ?" 

" Yes/' 

" Where is the rest of the regiment ? " 

"They have run away. They refused to serve longer 
against Yasna Gora." 

" What does he say ? '' asked Miller. 

Zbrojek interpreted the words. 

" Ask him where they went to.'' 
• Zbrojek repeated the question. 

" It is unknown," said the soldier. " Some have gone to 
Silesia. Others said that they would serve with Kmita, for 
there is not another such colonel either among the Poles or 
the Swedes." 

When Zbrojek interpreted these words to Miller, he grew 
serious. In truth, such men as Kuklinovski had were ready 
to pass over to the command of Kmita without hesitation. 
But then they might l^ecome terrible, if not for Miller's 
army, at least for his supplies and communication. A river 
of perils was rising higher and higher around the enchanted 

Zbrojek, into whose head tliis idea must have come, said, 
as if in answer to these thoughts of Miller : " It is certain 
that everything is in a storm now in our Commonwealth. 
Let only such a Kmita shout, hundreds and thousands will 
surround him, especially after what he has done." 

" But what can he effect ? " asked Miller. 

" Remember, your worthiness, that that man brought Ho- 
vanski to desperation, and Hovanski liad, counting the Cos- 
sacks, six times as many men as we. Not a transport will 
come to us without his permission, the country houses are 
destroyed, and we are beginning to feel hunger. Besides, 
this Kmita may join with Jegotski and Kulesha ; then he 
will have several thousand sabres at his call. He is a 
grievous man, and may Ix^come most harmful." 

" Are you sure of your soldiers ? " 

"Surer than of myself," answered Zbrojek, with brutal 

" How surer ? " 

" For, to tell the tnith, we have all of us enough of this 

" I trust that it will soon come to an end." 

" Only the question is : How ? But for that matter to 
capture this fortress is at present as great a calamity as to 
retire from it." 


Meanwhile they had reached the little barn. Miller dis- 
mounted, after him the officers, and all entered. The sol- 
diers had removed Kuklinovski from the beam, and covering 
him with a rug laid him on his back on remnants of straw. 
The bodies of three soldiers lay at one side, placed evenly 
one by the other. 

" These were killed with knives." 

" But Kuklinovski ? " 

"Tliere are no wounds on Kuklinovski, but his side is 
roasted and his mustaches daubed with pitch. He must 
have perished of cold or suffocation, for he holds his own 
cap in his teeth to this moment." 

" Uncover him." 

The soldier raised a corner of the rug, and a terrible face 
was uncovered, swollen, with eyes bursting out. On the rem- 
nants of his pitched mustaches were icicles formed from his 
frozen breath and mixed with soot, making as it were tusks 
sticking out of his mouth. That face was so revolting that 
Miller, though accustomed to all kinds of ghastliness, shud- 
dered and said, — 

" Cover it quickly. Terrible, terrible ! " 

Silence reigned in the barn. 

" Why have we come here ? " asked the Prince of Hesse, 
spitting. " I shall not touch food for a whole day." 

All at once some kind of uncommon exasperation closely 
bordering on frenzy took possession of Miller. His face 
became blue, his eyes expanded, he began to gnash his 
teeth, a wild thirst for the blood of some one had seized 
him ; then turning to Zbrojek, he screamed, — 

" Where is that soldier who saw that Kuklinovski was in 
the barn ? He must be a confederate ! " 

" I know not whether that soldier is here yet," answered 
Zbrojek. "All Kuklinovski's men have scattered like 
oxen let out from the yoke." 

" Then catch him ! " bellowed Miller, in fury. 

" Catch him yourself ! " cried Zbrojek, in similar fury. 

And again a terrible outburst hung as it were on a spider- 
web over the heads of the Swedes and the Poles. The 
latter began to gather around Zbrojek, moving their mus- 
taches threateningly and rattling their sabres. 

During this noise the echoes of shots and the tramp of 
horses were heard, and into the barn rushed a Swedish 
officer of cavalry. 

" General ! " cried he. " A sortie from the cloister 1 


The men working at the mine have been cut to pieces I 
A party of infantry is scattered I '' 

" I shall go wild I '' roared Miller, seizing the hair of his 
wig. " To horse I '^ 

In a moment they were all rushing like a whirlwind 
toward the cloister, so that lumps of snow fell like 
hail from the hoofs of their horses. A hundred of Sadov- 
ski's cavalry, under command of his brother, joined 
Miller and ran to assist. On the way they saw parties of 
terrified infantry fleeing in disorder and panic, so fallen 
were the hearts of the Swedish infantry, elsewhere un- 
rivalled. They had left even trenches which were not 
threatened by any danger. The oncoming officers and 
cavalry trampled a few, and rode finally to within a fur- 
long of the fortress, but only to see on the height as clearly 
as on the palm of the hand, the attacking party returning 
safely to the cloister; songs, shouts of joy, and laughter 
came from them to Miller's ears. 

Single persons stood forth and threatened with bloody 
sabres in the direction of the staff. The Poles present at 
the side of the Swedish genertal recognized Zamoyski him- 
self, who had led the sortie in x^erson, and who, when he 
saw the staff, stopped and saluted it solemnly with his cap. 
No wonder he felt safe under cover of the fortress cannon. 

And, in fact, it began to smoke on the walls, and iron 
flocks of cannon balls were flying with terrible whistling 
among the officers. Troopers tottered in their saddles, and 
groans answered whistles. 

" We are under tire. Retreat I '' commanded Sadovski. 

Zbrojek seized the reins of Miller's horse. "General, 
withdraw! It is death here!" 

Miller, as if he had become torpid, said not a word, and 
let himself be led out of range of the missiles. Returning 
to his quarters, he locked himself in, and for a whole day 
would see no man. He was meditating surely over his 
fame of Poliorcetes. 

Count Veyhard now took all power in hand, and began 
with immense energy to make preparations for a storm. 
New breastworks were thrown up ; the soldiere succeeding 
the miners broke the cliff unweariedly to ])repare a mine. 
A feverish movement continued in the whole Swedisli 
camp. It seemed that a new spirit had entered the be- 
siegers, or that reinforcements had come. A few days 
later the news thundered through the Swedish and allied 


Polish camps that the miners had found a passage going 
under the church and the cloister, and that it depended 
now only on the good-will of the general to blow up the 
whole fortress. 

Delight seized the soldiers worn out with cold, hunger, 
and fruitless toil. Shouts of : " We have Chenstohova ! 
We '11 blow up that hen-house ! " ran from mouth to mouth. 
Feasting and drinking began. 

The count was present everywhere; he encouraged the 
soldiers, kept them in that belief, repeated a hundred times 
daily the news of finding the passage, incited to feasting 
and frolics. 

The echo of this gladness reached the cloister at last. 
News of the mines dug and ready to explode ran with 
the speed of lightning from rampart to rampart. Even 
the most daring were frightened. Weeping women began 
to besiege the prior's dwelling, to hold out to him their 
children when he appeared for a while, and cry, — 

"Destroy not the innocent! Their blood will fall on thy 
head ! " 

The greater coward a man had been, the greater his dar- 
ing now in urging Kordetski not to expose to destruc- 
tion the sacred place, the capital of the Most Holy Lady. 

Such grievous, painful times followed, for the unbending 
soul of our hero in a habit, as had not been till that hour. 
It was fortunate that the Swedes ceased their assaults, 
so as to prove more convincingly that they needed 
no longer either balls or cannon, that it was enough 
for them to ignite one little powder fuse. But for this 
very reason terror increased in the cloister. In the hour 
of deep night it seemed to some, the most timid, that they 
heard under the earth certain sounds, certain movements ; 
that the Swedes were already under the cloister. Finally, 
a considerable number of the monks fell in spirit. Those, 
with Father Stradomski at the head of them, went to the 
prior and urged him to begin negotiations at once for sur- 
render. The greater part of the soldiers went with them, 
and some of the nobles. 

Kordetski appeared in the courtyard, and when the throng 
gathered around him in a close circle, he said, — 

" Have we not sworn to one another to defend this holy 
place to the last drop of our blood ? In truth, I tell you 
that if powder hurls us forth, only our wretched bodies, 
only the temporary covering, will fall away and return to 


the earth, but the souls will not return, — heaven will 
open above them, and they will enter into rejoicing and 
happiness, as into a sea without bounds. There Jesus 
Christ will receive them, and that Most Holy Mother will 
meet them, and they like golden bees will sit on her robe, 
and will sink in light and gaze on the face of the Lord." 

Here the reflection of that brightness was gleaming on 
his face. He raised his ins])ired eyes upward, and spoke on 
with a dignity and a calm not of earth : — 

" Lord, the Ruler of worlds. Thou art looking into my 
heart, and Thou knowest tliat I am not deceiving this 
people when I say that if 1 desired only my own happiness 
I would stretch out my hands to Thee and cry ivom the 
depth of my soul ; O Lord ! let powder be there, let it ex- 
plode, for in such a death is redemption of sins and faults, 
for it is eternal rest, and Thy servant is weary and toil- 
worn over-much. And who would not wish a reward of 
such kind, for a death without pain and as short as the 
twinkle of an eye, as a flash in the heavens, after which is 
eternity unbroken, happiness inexhaustible, joy without 
end. But Thou hast commanded me to guard Thy retreat, 
therefore it is not permitted me to go. Thou hast placed 
me on guard, therefore Thou hast poured into me Thy 
strength, and I know, O Lord, I see and feel that although 
the malice of the enemy were to force itself under this church, 
though all the powder and destructive saltpetre were placed 
there, it would be enough for me to make the sign of the 
cross above them and they would never explode." 

Here he turned to the assembly and continued : " God has 
given me this power, but do you take fear out of your hearts. 
My spirit pierces the earth and tells you : Your enemies lie, 
there are no powder dragons under the church. You, peo- 
ple of timid hearts, you in whom fear has stifled faith, de- 
serve not to enter the kingdom of grace and repose to-day. 
There is no powder under your feet then ! God wishes to 
preserve this retreat, so that, like Noah's ark, it may be borne 
above the deluge of disasters and mishap ; therefore, in the 
name of God, for the third time I tell you, there is no pow- 
der under the church. And when I speak in His name, who 
will make bold to oppose me, who will dare still to doubt ? " 

When he had said this he was silent and looked at the 
throng of monks, nobles, and soldiei-s. But such was the un- 
shaken faith, the conviction and power in his voice that they 
were silent also, and no man came forward. On the contrary. 


solace began to enter their hearts, till at last one of the Bol- 
diers, a simple peasant, said, — 

" Praise to the name of the Lord ! For three days they 
say they are able to blow up the fortress ; why do they not 
blow it up ? '' 

" Praise to the Most Holy hady I Wliy do they not blow 
it up ? '' repeated a number of voices. 

Then a wonderful sign was made manifest. Behold all 
about them on a sudden was heard the sound of wings, and 
whole flocks of small winter birds appeared in the court of 
the fortress, and every moment new ones flew in from the 
starved country-places around. Birds such as gray larks, 
ortolans, buntings with yellow breasts, poor sparrows, green 
titmice, red bulfinches, sat on the slopes of the roofs, on the 
corners over the doors, on the church ; others flew around 
in a many-colored crown above the head of the prior, flap- 
ping their wings, chirping sadly as if begging for alms, and 
having no fear whatever of man. People present were 
amazed at the sight ; and Kordetski, after he had ])rayed for 
a while, said at last, — 

" See these little birds of tlie forest. They come to the 
[)rotection of the Mother of God, but you doubt Her jK)wer." 

Consolation and hoi)e had entered their hearts ; the monks, 
beating their breasts, went to the church, and the soldiers 
mounted the walls. 

Women scattered grain to the birds, which began to pick 
it up eagerly. 

All interpreted the visit of these tiny forest-dwellers as a 
sign of success to themselves, and of evil to the enemy. 

" Fierce snows must be lying, when these little birds, car- 
ing neither for shots nor the thunder of cannon, flock to our 
buildings," said the soldiers. 

" But why do they fly from the Swedes to us ? " 

" Because the meanest creature has the wit to distinguish 
an enemy from a friend." 

"That cannot l>e," said another soldier, " for in the Swed- 
ish camp are Poles too ; but it means that there must l>e 
hunger there, and a lack of oats for the horses." 

"It means still better," said a third, "that what they say 
of the powder is downright falsehood." 

" How is that ? " asked all, in one voice. 

" Old people say," replied the soldier, " that if a house is 
to fall, the sparrows and swallows having nests in spring 
under the roof, go away two or three days in advance ; every 


creature has sense to feel danger beforehand. Now if pow- 
der were under the cloister, these little birds would not fly 
to us." 

" Is that ti-ue ? " 

" As true as Amen to * Our Father ! ' " 

" Praise to the Most Holy Lady ! it will be bad for the 

At this moment the sound of a tiiimpet was heard at the 
northwestern gate ; all ran to see who was coming. 

It was a Swedish trumpeter with a letter from the camp. 
The monks assembled at once in the council hall. The letter 
was from Count Veyhard, and announced that if the fortress 
were not surrendered before the following day it would be 
hurled into the air. But those who before had fallen under 
the weight of fear had no faith now in this threat. 

" Those are vain threats ! " said the priests and the nobles 

" Let us write to them not to spare us ; let them blow us 
up ! " 

And in fact they answered in that sense. 

Meanwhile the soldiers who had gathered around the 
trumpeter answered his warnings with ridicule. 

" Good ! " said they to him. " Why do you spare us ? We 
will go the sooner to heaven." 

But the man who delivered the answering letter to the 
messenger said, — 

" Do not lose words and time for nothing. Want is gnaw- 
ing you, but we lack nothing, praise be to God ! Even the 
birds fly away from you." 

And in this way Count Veyhard's last trick came to noth 
ing. And when another day had passed it was shown with 
perfect proof how vain were the fears of the besieged, and 
peace returned to the cloister. 

The following day a worthy man from Chenstohova, Yat- 
sek Bjuhanski, left a letter again giving Avarning of a storm ; 
also news of the return of Yan Kazimir from Silesia, and the 
uprising of the whole Commonwealth against the Swedes. 
But according to reports circulating outside the walls, this 
was to be the last storm. 

Bjuhanski brought the letter with a bag of fish to the 
priests for Christmas Eve, and approached the walls disguised 
as a Swedish soldier. Poor man! — the Swedes saw him 
and seized him. Miller gave command to stretch him on the 
rack ; but the old man had heavenly visions in the time of his 


torture, and smiled as sweetly as a child, and instead of pain 
unspeakable joy was depicted on his face. The general was 
present at the torture, but he gained no confession from the 
martyr ; he merely acquired the despairing conviction that 
nothing could bend those people, nothing could break them. 

Now came the old beggarwoman Kostuha, with a letter 
from Kordetski begging most humbly that the storm be 
delayed during service on the day of Christ\s birth. The 
guards and the officers received the beggarwoman with in- 
sults and jeers at such an envoy, but she answered them 
straight in the face, — 

" No other would come, for to envoys you are as murder- 
ers, and I took the office for bread, — a crust. I shall not be 
long in this world ; I have no fear of you : if you do not be- 
lieve, you have me in your hands." 

But no harm was done her. What is more, Miller, eager 
to try conciliation again, agreed to the prior's request, even 
accepted a ransom for Bjulianski, not yet tortured quite out 
of his life ; he sent also that part of the silver found with 
the Swedish soldiers. He did this last out of malice to 
(yount Veyhard, who after the failure of the mine had 
fallen into disfavor again. 

At last Christmas Eve came. With the tirst star, lights 
great and small began to shine all around in the fortress. 
The night was still, frosty, but clear. The Swedish soldiers, 
stiffened with cold in the intrenchments, gazed from below 
on the dark walls of the unapproachable fortress, and to their 
minds came the warm Scandinavian cottages stuffed with 
moss, their wives and children, the fir-tree gleaming with 
lights ; and more than one iron breast swelled with a sigh, 
with regret, with homesickness, with despair. But in the 
fortress, at tables covered with hay, the besieged were 
breaking wafers. A quiet joy was shining in all faces, for 
each one had the foreboding, almost the certainty, that the 
hours of suffering would be soon at an end. 

" Another storm to-morrow, but that will be the last," re- 
peated the priests and the soldiers. "Let him to whom 
God will send death give thanks that the Lord lets him be 
present at Mass, and thus opens more surely heaven's gates, 
for whoso dies for the faith on the day of Christ's birth 
must be received into glory." 

They wished one another success, long years, or a heav- 
enly crown ; and so relief dropped into every heart, as if 
suffering were over already. 


But there stood one empty chair near the prior; before it 
a plate on which was a package of white wafers bound with 
a blue ribbon. When all had sat down, no one occupied that 
place. Zamoyski said, — 

" I see, revered father, that according to ancient custom 
there are places for men outside the cloister." 

" Not for men outside," said Father Agustine, " but as a 
remembrance of that young man whom we loved as a son, 
and whose soul is looking with pleasure upon us because we 
keep him in eternal memory." 

"As God lives," replied Zamoyski, *Mie is happier now 
than we. We owe him due thanks." 

Kordetski had tears in his eyes, and Charnyetski said, — 

" They write of smaller men in the chronicles. If God 
gives me life, and any one asks me hereafter, who was there 
among us the equal of ancient lieroes, I shall say Babinich." 

" Babinich was not his name," said Kordetski. 

" How not Babinich ? " 

" I long knew his real name under the seal of confession ; 
but when going out against that cannon, he said to me : Mf 
I perish, let men know who I am, so that honorable repute 
may rest with my name, and destroy my former misdeeds.^ 
He went, he perished; now 1 can tell you that he was 
Kmita ! " 

" That renowned Lithuanian Kmita ? " cried Charnyetski, 
seizing his forelock. 

" The same. How the grace of God changes hearts ! " 

" For God's sake. Now I understand why he undertook 
that work; now I understand where he got that daring, 
that boldness, in which he surpassed all men. Kmita, 
Kmita, that terrible Kmita whom Lithuania celebrates." 

"Henceforth not only Lithuania, but the whole Com- 
mon wealtli will glorify him in a different manner." 

" He was the first to warn us against Count Veyhard." 

" Through his advice we closed the gates in good season, 
and made preparations." 

" He killed the first Swede with a shot from a bow." 

" And how many of their cannon did he spoil ! Who 
brought down De Fossis ? " 

"And that siege gun! If we are not terrified at the 
storm of to-morrow, who is the cause ? " 

" Let each remember him with honor, and celebrate his 
name wherever possible, so that justice be done," said Kor- 
detski; "and now may God give him eternal rest.*' 

96 THE deli:ge. 

" And may everlasting light shine on him," answered one 
chorus of voices. 

But Pan Charnyetski was unable for a long time to calm 
himself, and his thoughts were continually turning to Kmita. 

" I tell you, gentlemen, that there was something of sucli 
kind in that man that thougli he served as a simple soldier, 
the command of itself crawled at once to his hand, so that 
it was a wonder to me how people obeyed such a young man 
unwittingly. In fact, he was commander on the bastion, and 
I obeyed nim myself. Oh, had I known him then to be 
Kmita ! " 

" Still it is a wonder to me," said Zamoyski, " that the 
Swedes have not boasted of his death." 

Kordetski sighed. " The powder must have killed him 
on the spot." 

" I would let a hand be cut from me could he be alive 
again," cried Charnyetski. " But that such a Kmita let 
himself be blown up by powder ! " 

" He gave his life for ours," said Kordetski. 

" It is true," added Zamoyski, " that if that cannon were 
lying in the intrenchment, I sliould not think so pleasantly 
of to-morrow." 

" To-morrow God will give us a new victory," said the 
prior, " for the ark of Noah cannot be lost in the deluge." 

Thus they conversed with one another on Christmas Eve, 
and then separated ; the monks going to the church, the sol- 
diers, some to quiet rest, and others to keep watch on the 
walls and at the gates. But great care was superfluous, for 
in the Swedish camp there reigned unbroken calm. They 
had given themselves to rest and meditation, for to them too 
was approaching a most serious day. 

The night was solemn. Legions of stars twinkled in 
the sky, changing into blue and rosy colors. The light ot 
the moon changed to green the shrouds of snow stretching 
between the fortress and tlie hostile camp. The wind did 
not howl, and it was calm, as from the beginning of the 
siege it had not been near the cloister. 

At midnight the Swedish soldiers heard the flow of the 
mild and grand tones of the organ ; then the voices of men 
were joined with them ; then tlie sounds of bells, large and 
small. Joy, consolation, and great calm were in those 
sounds ; and the greater was the doubt, the greater the feel- 
ing of helplessness which weighed down the hearts of the 


The Polish soldiers from the commands of Zbrojek and 
Kalinski, without seeking permission, went up to the very 
walls. They were not permitted to enter through fear of 
some snare; but they were permitted to stand near the 
walls. They also collected together. Some knelt on tlie 
snow, others shook their heads pitifully, sighing over their 
own lot, or beat their breasts, promising repentance ; and 
all heard with delight and with tears in their eyes the music 
and the hymns sung according to ancient usage. 

At the same time the sentries on the walls who could not 
be in the church, wishing to make up for their loss, began 
also to sing, and soon was heard throughout the whole cir- 
cuit of the walls the Christmas hymn : — 

" He is lying iu the inauger ; 
Who will ran 
To greet the little strauger i " 

In the afternoon of the following day the thunder of guns 
drowned again every other sound. All the intrenchments 
began to smoke simultaneously, the earth trembled in its 
foundations ; as of old there flew on the roof of the church 
heavy balls, bombs, grenades, and torches fixed in cylin- 
ders, pouring a rain of melted lead, and naked torches, 
knots and ropes. Never had the thunder been so unceas- 
ing, never till then had such a river of fire and iron fallen 
on the cloister ; but among the Swedish guns was not that 
great gun, which alone could crush the wall and make a 
breach necessary for assault. 

But the besieged were so accustomed to fire that each 
man knew what he had to do, and the defence went in its 
ordinary course without command. Fire was answered with 
tire, missile witli missile, but better aimed, for with more 

Toward evening Miller went out to see by the last rays 
of the setting sun the results ; and his glance fell on the 
tower outlined calmly on the background of the sky. 

" That cloister will stand for the ages of ages ! " cried he, 
beside himself. 
* *• Amen I " answered Zbrojek, quietly. 

In the evening a council was assembled again at head- 
quarters, still more gloomy than usual. Miller opened it 

"The storm of to-day," said he, "has brought no result 
Our powder is nearly consumed ; half of our men are lost, 

VOL. II. — 7 


the rest discouraged : they look for disasters, not victory. 
We have no supplies ; we cannot expect reinforcements." 

" But the cloister stands unmoved as on the first day of 
the siege," added Sadovski. 

" What remains for us ? " 

" Disgrace." 

"I have received orders," said the general, "to finish 
quickly or retreat to Prussia." 

" What remains to us ? " repeated the Prince of Hesse. 

All eyes were turned to Count Veyhard, who said . " To 
save our honor ! " 

A short broken laugh, more like the gnashing of teeth, 
came from Miller, who was called Poliorcetes. " The Count 
wishes to teach us how to raise the dead," said he. 

Count Veyhard acted as though he had not heard this. 

"Only the slain have saved their honor," said Sadovski. 

Miller began to lose his cool blood. " And that cloister 
stands there yet, that Yasna Gora, that hen-house ! 1 have 
not taken it ! And we withdraw. Is this a dream, or am I 
speaking in my senses ? '* 

" That cloister stands there yet, that Yasna Gora ! " re- 
peated word for word the Prince of Hesse, " and we shall 
withdraw, — defeated ! " 

A moment of silence followed ; it seemed as though the 
leader and his subordinates found a certain wild pleasure 
in bringing to mind their shame and defeat. 

Now Count Veyhard said slowly and emphatically : " It 
has happened more than once in every war that a besieged 
fortress has rainsomed itself from the besiegers, who then 
went away as victors ; for whoso pays a ransom, by this 
same recognizes himself as defeated." 

The officers, who at first listened to the words of the 
speaker with scorn and contempt, now began to listen more 

" Let that cloister pay us any kind of ransom," continued 
the count ; " then no one will say that we could not take it, 
but that we did not wish to take it." 

" Will they agree ? " asked the Prince of Hesse. 

" I will lay down my head," answered Count Veyhard,' 
" and more than that, my honor as a soldier." 

" Can that be ! " asked Sadovski. " We have enough of 
this siege, but have they enough ? What does your worthi- 
ness think of this ? " 

Miller turned to Veyhard " Many grievous moments, the 


most grievous of my life, have I passed because of your 
counsels, Sir Count ; but for this last advice I thank you, 
and will be grateful." 

All breasts breathed more freely. There coidd be no real 
question but that of retreating with honor. 

On the morrow, the day of Saint Stephen, the officers 
assembled to the last man to hear Kordetski's answer to 
Miller's letter, which proposed a ransom, and was sent in 
the morning. 

They had to wait long. Miller feigned joyousness, but 
constraint was evident on his face. No one of the officers 
could keep his place. All hearts beat unquietly. The 
Prince of Hesse and Sadovski stood under the window 
conversing in a low voice. 

" What do you think ? " asked the first ; *' will they agree ? " 

" Everything indicates that they will agree. Who would 
not wish to be rid of such terrible danger come what may, 
at the price of a few tens of thousands of thalers, especially 
since monks have not worldly ambition and military honor, 
or at least should not have ? I only fear that the general has 
asked too much.'' 

** How much has he asked ? " 

" Forty thousand from the monks, and twenty thousand 
from the nobles.^ but in the worst event they will try to 
reduce the sum." 

"Let us yield, in God's name, let us yield. If they have 
not the money, I would prefer to lend them my own, it they 
will let us go away with even the semblance of honor. But 
I tell your princely highness that though I recognize the 
count's advice this time as good, and 1 believe that they will 
ransom themselves, such a fever is gnawing me that I would 
prefer ten storms to this waiting." 

"Uf! you are right. But still this Count Veyhard may 
go high." 

" Even as high as the gibbet," said the other. 

But the speakers did not foresee that a worse fate than 
even the gibbet was awaiting Count Veyhard. 

That moment the thunder of cannon interrupted further 

" What is that ? firing from the fortress ! " cried Miller. 
And springing up like a man possessed, he ran out of the 

All ran after him and listened. The sound of regular 
salvos came indeed from the fortress. 


*' Are they fighting inside, or what?" cried Miller; *' I 
don't understand." 

"I will explain to your worthiness," said Zbrojek; "this 
is Saint Stephen's Day, and the name's day of the Zamoy- 
■kis, father and son ; the firing is in their honor." 

With that sliouts of applause were heard from the fortress, 
and after them new salvos. 

"They have powder enough," said Miller, gloomily. 
"That is for us a new indication." 

But fate did not spare him another very painful lesson. 

The Swedish soldiers were so discouraged and fallen in 
spirit that at the sound of firing from the fortress the de- 
tachments guarding the nearest intrenchments deserted 
them in panic. 

Miller saw one whole regiment, the musketeers of Smaland, 
taking refuge in disorder at his own quarters ; he heard too 
how the officers repeated among themselves at this sight, — 

" It is time, it is time, it is time to retreat ! " 

But by degrees everything grew calm ; one crushing im- 
pression remained. The leader, and after him the subordi- 
nates, entered the room and waited, waited impatiently ; even 
the face of Count Veyhard, till then motionless, betrayed 

At last the clatter of spurs was heard in tlie antechamber, 
and the trumpeter entered, all red from cold, his mustaches 
covered with his frozen breath. 

*' An answer from the cloister ! " said he, giving a large 
packet wound up in a colored handkerchief bound with a 

Miller's hands trembled somewhat, and he chose to cut 
the string with a dagger rather than to open it slowly. A 
number of pairs of eyes were fixed on the packet ; the officers 
were breathless. The general unwound one roll of the cloth, 
a second, and a third, unwound with increasing haste till at 
last a package of wafers fell out on the table. Then he grew 
pale, and though no one asked what was in the package, he 
said : " Wafei*s ! " 

" Nothing more ? " asked some one in the crowd. 

" Nothing more ! " answered the general, like an echo. 

A moment of silence followed, broken only by panting ; 
at times too was heard the gritting of teeth, at times the 
rattling of rapiers. 

"Count Veyhard!" said Miller, at last, with a tei'rible 
and ill-omened voice. 


" He is no longer here ! " answered one of the officers. 

Again silence followed. 

That night movement reigned in the whole camp. Scarcely 
was the light of day quenched when voices of command were 
heard, the hurrying of considerable divisions of cavalry, the 
sound of measured steps of infantry, the neighing of horses, 
the squeaking of wagons, the dull thump of cannon, with the 
biting of iron, the rattle of chains, noise, bustle, and turmoil. 

" Will there be a new storm in the morning ? *' asked the 
guards at the gates. 

But they were unable to see, for since twilight the sky 
was covered with clouds, and abundant snow hiul begun to 
fall. Its frequent flakes excluded the liglit. About five 
o'clock in the morning all sounds had ceased, but the snow 
waa falling still more densely. On the walls and battle- 
ments it had created new walls and battlements. It cov- 
ered the whole cloister and church, as if wishing to hide them 
from the glance of the enemy, to shelter and cover them 
from iron missiles. 

At last the air began to grow gray, and the bell commenced 
tolling for morning service, when the soldiers standing guard 
at the southern gate heard the snorting of a horse. 

Before the gate stood a peasant, all covered with snow ; 
behind him was a low, small wooden sleigh, drawn by a thin, 
shaggy horse. The peasant fell to striking his body with his 
arms, to jumping from one foot to the other, and to crying, — 

" People, but open here ! " 

" Who is alive ? " they asked from the walls. 

" Your own, from Dzbov. I have brought game for the 

" And how did the Swedes let you come ? '* 

" What Swedes ? " 

" Those who are besieging the church." 

" Oho, there are no Swedes now ! " 

" Praise Grod, every soul ! Have they gone ? " 

"The tracks behind them are covered." 

With that, crowds of villagers and peasants blackened the 
road, some riding, others on foot; there were women too, 
and all began to cry from afar, — 

" There are no Swedes ! there are none ! They have gone 
to Vyelunie. Open the gates ! There is not a man in the 

"The Swedes have gone, the Swedes have gone!" cried 
men on the walls ; and the news ran around like lightning. 


Soldiers rushed to the bells, and rang them all as if for an 
alarm. Every living soul rushed out of the cells, the dwell- 
ings, and the church. 

The news thundered all the time. The court was swarming 
with monks, nobles, soldiers, women, and children. Joyful 
shouts were heard around. Some ran out on the walls to 
examine the empty camp ; others burst into laughter or into 
sobs. Some would not believe yet , but new crowds came 
continually, peasants and villagers. 

They came from Chenstohova, from the surrounding vil- 
lages, and from the forests near by, noisily, joyously, and 
with singing. New tidings crossed one another each mo- 
ment. All had seen the retreating Swedes, and told in 
what direction they were going. 

A few hours later the slope and the plain below the moun- 
tain were filled with people. The gates of the cloister were 
open wide, as they had been before the siege ; and all the bells 
were ringing, ringing, ringing, — and those voices of triumph 
flew to the distance, and then the whole Commonwealth 
heard them. 

The snow was covering and covering the tracks of the 

About noon of that day the church was so filled with peo- 
ple that head was as near head as on a paved street in a city 
one stone is near another. Father Kordetski himself cele- 
brated a thanksgiving Mass, and to the throng of people 
it seemed that a white angel was celebrating it. And it 
seemed to them also that he was singing out his soul in that 
Mass, or that it was borne heavenward in the smoke of the 
incense, and was expanding in praise to the Lord. 

The thunder of cannon shook not the walls, nor the glass 
in the windows, nor covered the people with dust, nor 
interrupted prayer, nor that thanksgiving hymn which 
amid universal ecstasy and weeping, the holy prior was 
intoning — 

"Te Deum laudamus." 



The horses bore Kmita and the Kyemliches swiftly to- 
ward the Silesian boundary. They atlvanced with caution 
to avoid meeting Swedish scouts, for though the cunning 
Kyemliches had *• passes," given by Kuklinovski and signed 
by Miller, still soldiers, though furnished with such docu- 
ments, were usually subjected to examination, and examina- 
tion might liave an evil issue for Pan Andrei and his 
comrades. They rode, therefore, swiftly, so as to pass the 
boundary in all haste and push into the depth of the Em- 
peror's territory. The boundaries themselves were not free 
from Swedish ravagers, and frequently whole parties of 
horsemen rode into Silesia to seize those who were going 
to Yan Kazimir. But the Kyemliches, during their stay at 
Chenstohova, occupied continually with hunting individual 
Swedes, had learned through and through the whole region, 
all the boundary roads, passages, and paths where tlie 
chase was most abundant, and were as if in their own 

Along the road old Kyemlich told Pan Andrei what was 
to be heard in the Commonwealth ; and Pan Andrei, having 
been confined so long in the fortress, forgetting his own 
pain, listened to the news eagerly, for it was very unfavor- 
able to the Swedes, and heralded a near end to their domi- 
nation in Poland. 

" The army is sick of Swedish fortune and Swedish com- 
pany," said old Kvemlich ; " and as some time ago the sol- 
diers threatened the hetmans with their lives if they would 
not join the Swedes, so now the same men entreat Pototski 
and send deputations asking him to save the Commonwealth 
from oppression, swearing to stand by him to the deatli. 
Some colonels also have begun to attack the Swedes on their 
own responsibility." 

" Who began first ? " 

'^ Jegotski, the starosta of Babimost, and Pan Kulesha. 
These began in Great Poland, and annoy the Swedes no- 
tably. There are many small divisions in the whole coun- 
try, but it is difficult to learn the names of the leaders, for 


they conceal them to save their own families and property 
from Swedish vengeance. Of the army that regiment rose 
first which is commanded by Pan Voynillovich." 

" Gabryel ? He is my relative, though I do not know 

"A genuine soldier. He is the man who rubbed out 
Pratski's party, which was serving the Swedes, and shot 
Pratski himself ; but now he has gone to the rough moun- 
tains beyond Cracow ; there he cut up a Swedish division, 
and secured the mountaineers from oppression." 

"Are the mountaineers fighting with the Swedes al- 
ready ? " 

"They were the first to rise; but as they are stupid 
peasants, they wanted to rescue Cracow straightway with 
axes. General Douglas scattered them, for they knew noth- 
ing of the level country ; but of the parties sent to pursue 
them in the mountains, not a man has returned. Pan 
Voynillovich has helped those peasants, and now has gone 
himself to the marshal at Lyubovlya, and joined his 

" Is Pan Lyubomirski, the marshal, opposed to the 
Swedes ? " 

" Reports disagreed. They said that he favored this side 
and that; but when men began to mount their horses 
throughout the whole country he went against the Swedes. 
He is a powerful man, and can do them a great deal of 
harm. He alone might war with the King of Sweden. 
People say too that before spring there will not be one 
Swede in the Commonwealth." 

" God grant that ! " ^ 

" How can it be otherwise, your grace, since for the siege 
of Chenstohova all are enraged against them ? The army is 
rising, the nobles are fighting already wherever they can, 
the peasants are collecting in crowds, and besides, the Tar- 
tars are marching; the Khan, who defeated Hmelnitski 
and the Cossacks, and promised to destroy them completely 
unless they would march against the Swedes, is coming in 

" But the Swedes have still much support among mag- 
nates and nobles ? " 

" Only those take their part who must, and even they are 
merely waiting for a chance. The prince voevoda of Vilna 
is the only man who has joined them sincerely, and tliat act 
has turned out ill for him." 


Kmita stopped his horse, and at the same time caught his 
side, for terrible pain had shot through him. 

" In God's name ! " cried he, suppressing a groan, "tell 
ia6 what is taking place with Radzivill. Is he all the time 
in Kvedani ? " 

" Ivory Gate ! '' said the old man ; " I know as much 
as people say, and God knows what they do not say. Some 
report that the prince voevoda is living no longer ; others 
that he is still defending himself against Pan Sapyeha, but 
is barely breathing. It is likely that they are struggling 
with each other in Podlyasye, and that Pan Sapyeha has the 
upper hand, for the Swedes could not save the prince voe- 
voda. Now they say that, besieged in Tykotsin by Sapyeha, 
it is all over with him." 

" Praise be to God ! The honest are conquering traitors ! 
Praise be to God ! Praise be to God ! " 

Kyemlich looked from under his brows at Kmita, and 
knew not himself what to think, for it was known in the 
whole Commonwealth that if Radzvill had triumphed in the 
beginning over his own troops and the nobles who did not 
wish Swedish rule, it happened, mainly, thanks to Kmita 
and his men. But old Kyemlich did not let that thought 
be known to his colonel, and rode farther in silence. 

" But what has happened to Prince Boguslav ? " asked 
Pan Andrei, at last 

"I have heard nothing of him, your grace,*' answered 
Kyemlich. " Maybe he is in Tykotsin, and maybe with the 
elector. War is there at present, and the King of Swe- 
den has gone to Prussia; but we meanwhile are waiting 
for our own king. God give him ! for let him only show 
himself, all to a man will rise, and the troops will leave the 
Swedes straightway." 

" Is that certain ? " 

" Your grace, I know only what those soldiers said who 
had to be with the Swedes at Chenstohova. They are ver}' 
fine cavalry, some thousands strong, under Zbrojek, Kalin- 
ski, and other colonels. I may tell your grace that no man 
serves there of his own will, except Kuklinovski's ravagers ; 
they wanted to get the tre^usures of Yasna Gora. But all 
honorable soldiers did nothing but lament, and one quicker 
than another complained : * We have enough of this Jew's 
service ! Only let our king put a foot over the boundary, 
we will turn our sabres at once on the Swedes ; but while 
he ie not here, how can we begin, whither can we go ? ' So 


they complain ; and in the other regiments which are under 
the hetmans it is still worse. This I know certainly, for 
deputations came from them to Pan Zbrojek with argu- 
ments, and they had secret talks there at night ; this Miller 
did not know, though he felt that there was evil about 

" But is the prince voevoda of Vilna besieged in Tykot- 
sin ? " asked Fan Andrei. 

Kyemlich looked again unquietly on Kmita, for he thought 
that surely a fever was seizing him if he asked to have the 
same information repeated; still he answered, — 

" Besieged by Pan Sapyeha." 

^* Just are Thy judgments, God ! '' said Kmita. " He 
who miglit compare in power with kings I Has no one re- 
mained with him ? " 

"In Tykotsin there is a Swedish garrison. But with 
the prince only some of his trustiest attendants have 

Kmita's breast was filled with delight. He had feared 
the vengeance of the terrible magnate on Olenka, and 
though it seemed to him that he had prevented that ven- 
geance with his threats, still he was tormented by the 
thought that it would be better and safer for Olenka and 
all the Billeviches to live in a lion's den than in Kyedani, 
luider the hand of the prince, who never forgave any man. 
But now when he had fallen his opponents must triumph 
by the event; now when he was deprived of power and 
significance, when he was lord of only one poor castle, in 
which he defended his own life and freedom, he could not 
think of vengeance ; his hand had ceased to weigh on his 

** Praise be to God ! praise be to God ! " repeated Kmita. 

He had his head so filled with the change in RadzivilVs 
fortunes, so occupied with that which had happened during 
his stay in Chenstohova, and with the question where was 
she whom his heart loved, and what had become of her, 
that a third time he asked Kyemlich : " You say that the 
prince is broken ? " 

" Broken completely," answered the old man. " But are 
you not sick ? " 

" My side is burned. That is nothing ! " answered Kmita. 

Again they rode on in silence. The tired horses lessened 
their speed by degrees, till at last they were going at a walk. 
That monotonous movement lulled to sleep Pan Andrei, who 


was mortally wearied, and he slept long, nodding in the 
saddle. He was roused only by the white light of day. He 
looked around with amazement, for in the first moment it 
seemed to him that everything through which he had passed 
in that night was merely a dream ; at last he inquired, — 

" Is that you, Kyemlich ? Are we riding from Chen- 
stohova ? " 

"Of course, your grace." 

" But where are we ? *' 

"Oho, ill Silesia already. Here the Swedes will not 
get us." 

" That is well ! " said Kmitti, coming to his senses com- 
pletely. " But where is our gracious king living ? " 

" At Glogov." 

" We will go there then to bow down to our lord, and 
offer him service. But listen, old man, to me." 

" I am listening, your grace." 

Kmita fell to thinking, however, and did not speak at 
once. He was evidently combining something in his head ; 
he hesitated, considered, and at last said : ". It cannot be 
otherwise ! " 

" I am listening, your grace," repeated Kyemlich. 

" Neither to the king nor to any man at the couil; must you 
mutter who I am. I call myself Babinich, I am faring from 
Chenstohova. Of the great gun and of Kuklinovski you may 
talk, so that my intentions be not misconstrued, and I be con- 
sidered a traitor, for in my blindness I aided and served Prince 
Radzivill ; of this they may have heard at the court." 

" I may speak of what your grace did at Chenstohova — " 

" But who will show that *t is true till the siege is over ? " 

"I will act at your command." 

" The day will come for truth to appear at the top," added 
Kmita, as it were to himself, "but first our gracious lord 
must convince himself. Later he also will give me his 

Here the conversation was broken. By this time it had 
become perfect day. Old Kyemlich began to sing matins, 
and Kosma and Damian accompanied him with bass voices. 
The road was difficult, for the frost was cutting, and be- 
sides, the travellers were stopped continually and asked for 
news, especially if Chenstohova was resisting yet. Kmita 
answered that it was resisting, and would take care of itself ; 
but there was no end to questions. The roads were swarm- 
ing with travellers, the inns everywhere filled. Some people 


were seeking refuge in the depth of the country from the 
neighboring parts of the Commonwealth before Swedish 
oppression; others were pushing toward the hoiuidary for 
news. From time to time appeared nobles, who, having 
had enough of the Swedes, were going, like Kmita, to offer 
their services to the fugitive king. There were seen, also, 
attendants of private persons ; at times smaller or larger 
parties of soldiers, from armies, which either voluntarily or 
in virtue of treaties with the Swedes had passed the boun- 
daries, — such, for instance, as the troops of Stefan Char- 
nyetski. News from the Commonwealtli had roused the 
hope of those "exiles," and many of them were making 
ready to come home in arms. In all Silesia, and particu- 
larly in the provinces of llatibor and Ojjol, it was boiling 
as in a pot ; messengers were flying with letters to the king 
and from the king ; they were flying with letters to Charny- 
etski, to the primate, to Pan Korytsinski, the chancellor ; 
to Pan Varshytski, the castellan of Cracow, the first sena- 
tor of the Commonwealth, who had not deserted the cause 
of Yan Kazimir for an instant. 

These lords, in agreement with the great queen, who was 
unshaken in misfortune, were coming to an understanding 
with one another, with the country, and with tlie foremost 
men in it, of whom it was known tliat tliey would gladly re- 
sume allegiance to their legal lord. Messengers were sent 
independently by the marshal of the kingdom, the hetmans, 
the army, and the nobles, who were making ready to take 
up arms. 

It was the eve of a general war, which in some places had 
broken out already. The Swedes put down these local out- 
bursts either with arms or ^vith the executioner's axe, but 
the fire quenched in one place flamed up at once in another. 
An awful storm was hanging over the heads of the Scan- 
dinavian invaders ; the ground itself, though covered with 
snow, began to burn their feet; threats and vengeance 
surrounded them on all sides ; their own shadows alarmed 

Tliey went around like men astray. The recent songs of 
triumph died on their lips, and they asked one another iii 
the greatest amazement, " Are these the same people who 
yesterday left their own king, and gave up without fighting 
a battle ? " Yes, lords, nobles, army, — an example unheard 
of in history, — passed over to the conqueror ; towns and 
castles threw open their gates ; the country was occupied. 


Never had a conquest cost fewer exertions, less blood. The 
Swedes themselves, wondering at the ease with which they 
had occupied a mighty Commonwealth, could not conceal 
their contempt tor the conquered, who at the first gleam of 
a Swedish sword rejected their own king, their country, 
provided that they could enjoy life and goods in peace, or ac- 
(luire new goods in the confusion. What in his time Count 
Veyhard had told the emperor's envoy, Lisola, the king him- 
self, and all the Swedish generals relocated : " There is no 
manhood in this nation, there is no stability, there is no 
order, no faith, no patriotism ! It must i)erish." 

They forgot that that nation had still one feeling, specially 
that one whose earthly expression was Yasna Gora. And 
in that feeling was rebirth. 

Therefore the thunder of cannon which was heard under 
the sacred retreat found an echo at once in the hearts of all 
magnates, nobles, town-dwellers, and peasants. An outcry 
of awe was heard from the Carpathians to the Baltic, and 
the giant was roused from his torpor. 

" That is another i)eople ! " said the amazed Swedish 

And all, from Arwid Wittemberg to the commandants of 
single castles, sent to Karl Gustav in Prussia tidings filled 
with terror. 

The earth was pushing from under their feet ; instead of 
recent friends, they met enemies on all sides ; instead of 
submission, hostility ; instead of fear, a wild daring ready 
for everything ; instead of mildness, ferocity ; instead of 
long-suffering, vengeance. 

Meanwhile from hand to hand were flying in thousands 
throughout the whole Commonwealth the manifestoes of Yan 
Kazimir, which, issued at first in Silesia, had found no imme- 
diate echo. Now, on the contrary, they were seen in castles 
still free of the enemy. Wherever the Swedish hand was not 
weighing, the nobles assembled in crowds large and small, 
and beat their breasts, listening to the lofty words of the 
fugitive king, who, recounting faults and sins, urged them 
not to lose hope, but hasten to the rescue of the fallen 

"Though the enemy have already advanced far, it is not 
too late," wrote Yan Kazimir, " for us to recover the lost 
provinces and towns, give due praise to God, satisfy the 
profaned churches with the blood of the enemy, and re- 
store the former liberties, laws, and ancient enactments of 


Poland to their usual circuit ; if only there is a return of 
that ancient Polish virtue, and that devotion and love of 
God peculiar to your ancestors, virtues for which our great- 
grandfather, Sigismund I., honored them before many na- 
tions. A return to virtue has already diminished these re- 
cent transgressions. Let those of you to whom God and 
His holy faith are dearer than aught else rise against the 
Swedish enemy. Do not wait for leaders or voevodas, or for 
such an order of things as is described in public law. At 
present the enemy have brought all these things to confusion 
among you; but do you join, the first man to a second, a 
third to these two, a fourth to the three, a fifth to the four, 
and thus farther, so that each one with his own subjects may 
come, and when it is possible try resistance. Afterward you 
will select a leader. Join yourselves one party to another, 
and you will form an army. When the army is formed 
and you have chosen a known chief over it, wait for our 
person, not neglecting an occasion wherever it comes to de- 
feat the enemy. If we hear of the occasion, and your readi- 
ness and inclination, we will come at once and lay down our 
life wherever the defence of the country requires it." 

This manifesto was read even in the camp of Karl Gustav, 
in castles having Swedish garrisons, in all places wherever 
Polish squadrons were found. The nobles shed tears at 
every word of the king their kind lord, and took an oath on 
crosses, on pictures of the Most Holy Lady, and on scapu- 
lars to please him. To give a proof of their readiness, while 
ardor was in their hearts and their tears were not dry, they 
mounted here and there without hesitation, and moved on 
while hot against the Swedes. 

In this way the smaller Swedish parties began to melt 
and to vanish. This was done in Lithuania, Mazovia, Great 
and Little Poland. More than once nobles who had assem- 
bled at a neighbor's house for a christening, a name's day, 
a wedding or a dance, without any thought of war, finished 
the entertainment with this, that after thev had taken a 
good share of drink they struck like a thunderbolt and cut 
to pieces the nearest Swedish command. Then, amid songs 
and shouts, they assembled for the road. Those who wished 
to "hunt" rode farther, changed into a crowd greedy for 
blood, from a crowd into a " party " which began steady war. 
Subject peasants and house-servants joined the amusement 
in throngs ; others gave information about single Swedes or 
small squads disposed incautiously through the villages. 


Aud the uuiuber of '* balls '' and " masquerades " increased 
with each day. .Toyousuess and daring personal to the 
people were bound up with these bloody amusements. 

They disguised themselves gladly as Tartars, the very 
name of which tilled the Swedes with alarm ; for among 
them were current marvellous accounts and fables touching 
the ferocity, the terrible and savage bravery of those sons 
of the Crimean steppes, with whom the Scandinavians had 
never met hitherto. Besides, it was known universally that 
the Khan with about a hundred thousand of the horde was 
marching to succor Yan Kazimir ; and the nobles made a 
great uproar while attacking Swedish commands, from which 
wonderful disorder resulted. 

The Swedish colonels and commandants in many places 
were really convinced that Tartars were present, and re- 
treated in haste to larger fortresses and camps, spreading 
everywhere erroneous reix)rts and alarm. Meanwhile the 
neighborhoods which were freed in this manner from the 
enemy were able to defend themselves, and change an unruly 
rabble into the most disciplined of armies. 

But more terrible for the Swedes than "masquerades" 
of nobles, or than the Tai-tars themselves, were the move- 
ments of the peasants. Excitement among the i>eople be- 
gan with the first day of the siege of Chenstohova ; and 
ploughmen hitherto silent and patient began here and there 
to offer resistance, here and there to take scythes and flails 
and help nobles. The most brilliant Swedish generals 
looked with the greatest alarm at these crowds, which 
might at any moment turn into a genuine deluge and 
overwhelm beyond rescue tlie invaders. 

Terror seemed to them the most appropriate means by 
which to crush in the beginning this di*eadful danger. 
Karl Gustav cajoled still, and retained with words of kind- 
ness those Polish squadrons which had followed him to 
Prussia. He had not spared flattery on Konyetspolski, the 
celebrated commander from Zbaraj. This commander stood 
at his side with six thousand cavalry, which at the first hos- 
tile meeting with the elector spread such terror and de- 
struction among the Prussians tliat the elector abandoning 
the fight agreed as quickly as possible to the conditions. 

The King of Sweden sent letters also to the hetmans, the 
magnates, and the nobles, full of graciousness, ]jromises, 
and encouragement to preserve loyalty to him. But at 
the same time he issued commands to his generals and 



commandants to destroy with fire and sword every opposi- 
tion within the country, and especially to cut to pieces 
peasant parties. Then began a period of iron military rule. 
The Swedes cast aside the semblance of friendship. The 
sword, fire, pillage, oppression, took the place of the former 
pretended good will. From the castles they sent strong de- 
tachments of cavalry and infantry in pursuit of the " mas- 
queraders." Whole villages, with churches and priests* 
dwellings, were levelled to the earth. Nobles taken prison- 
ers, were delivered to the executioner ; the right hands were 
cut from captured peasants, then they were sent home. 

These Swedish detachments were specially savage in 
Great Poland, which, as it was the first to surrender, was 
also the first to rise against foreign dominion. Comman- 
dant Stein gave orders on a certain occasion to cut the 
hands from more than three hundred peasants. In towns 
they built permanent gibbets, which every day were adorned 
with new victims. Pontus de la Gardie did the same in 
Lithuania and Jmud, where the noble villages took up arms 
first, and after them the peasants. Because in general it 
was difficult for the Swedes in the disturbance to distin- 
guish their friends from their enemies, no one was spared. 

But the fire put down in blood, instead of dying, grew 
without ceasing, and a war began which was not on either 
side a question merely of victory, castles, towns, or prov- 
inces, but of life or death. Cruelty increased hatred, and 
they began not to struggle, but to exterminate each the 
other without mercy. 



This war of extermination was just beginning when 
Kmita, with the three Kyemliches, reached Glogov, after 
a journey which was difficult in view of Pan Andrei's 
shaken health. They arrived in the night. The town was 
crowded with troops, lords, nobles, servants of the king 
and of magnates. The inns were so occupied that old 
Kyemlich with the greatest trouble found lodgings for 
his colonel outside the town at the house of a rope- 

Pan Andrei spent the whole first day in bed in pain and 
fever from the burn. At times he thought that he should 
be seriously and grievously ill ; but his iron constitution 
gained the victory. The following night brought him ease, 
and at daybreak he dressed and went to the parish church 
to thank God for his miraculous escape. 

The gray and snowy winter morning had barely dissi- 
pated the darkness. The town was still sleeping, but 
through the church door lights could be seen on the altar, 
and the sounds of the organ came forth. 

Kmita went to the centre of the church. The priest was 
celebrating Mass before the altar ; there were few worship- 
pers so far. At benches some persons were kneeling with 
their faces hidden in their hands ; but besides these Pan 
Andrei saw, when his eyes had grown used to the darkness, 
a certain figure lying in the form of a cross in front of the 
pews on a carpet. Behind him were kneeling two youths 
with ruddy and almost angelic childish facea 

This man was motionless, and only from his breast mov- 
ing continually with deep sighs could it be known that he 
was not sleeping, but praying earnestly and with his whole 
soul. Kmita himself became absorbed in a thanksgiving 
prayer ; but when ho had finished his eyes turned involun- 
tarily to the man lying as a cross, and could not leave him ; 
something fastened them to him. Sighs deep as groans, 
audible in the silence of the church, shook that figure con- 
tinually. The yellow rays of the candles burning before 
the altar, together with the light of day, whitening in the 

TOL.II. — 8 


windows, brought it out of the gloom, and made it more 
and more visible. 

Pan Andrei conjectured at once from the dress that he 
must be some noted person, besides all present, not excepting 
the priest celebrating Mass, looked on him with honor and 
respect. The unknown was dressed entirely in black velvet 
bound with sable, but on his shoulders he had, turned down, 
a white lace collar, from under which peeped the golden 
links of a chain ; a black hot with feathers of like color lay 
at his side ; one of the pages kneeling beyond the carpet 
held gloves and a sword enamelled in blue. Kmita could 
not see the face of the unknown, for it was hidden by the 
folds of the carpet, and besides, the locks of an unusually 
thick wig scattered around his head concealed it completely , 

Pan Andrei pressed up to the front pew to see the face 
of the unknown when he rose. Mass was then drawing to 
an end. The priest was singing Pater noster. The people 
who wished to be at the following Mass were coming in 
through the main entrance. The church was hlled gradually 
with figures with heads shaven at the sides, dressed in 
cloaks with long sleeves, in military burkas, in fur cloaks, 
and in brocade coats. It became somewhat crowded. Kmita 
then pushed with his elbow a noble standing at his side, 
and whispered, — 

" Pardon, your grace, that I trouble you during service, 
but my curiosity is most powerful. Who is that ? '' He 
indicated with his eyes the man lying in the form of a 

" Have you come from a distance, that you know not ? " 
asked the noble. 

" Certainly I come from a distance, and therefore 1 ask 
in hope that if I find some polite man he will not begrudge 
an answer.'' 

" That is the king." 

" As God lives ! " cried Kmita. 

But at that moment the king rose, for the priest had 
begun to read the Gospel. 

Pan Andrei saw an emaciated face, yellow and trans- 
parent, like church wax. The eyes of the king were moist, 
and his lids red. You would have said that all the fate of 
the country was reflected in that noble face, so much was 
there in it of pain, suffering, care. Sleepless nights divided 
between prayer and grief, terrible deceptions, wandering, 
desertion, the humiliated majesty of that son, grandson. 


and great-graudsou of powerful kings, the gall which his 
own subjects had given him to drink so bountifully, the in- 
gratitude of that country for which he was read}' to devote 
his blood and life, — all this could be read in that face as in a 
book, and still it expressed not only resignjition, obtained 
through faith and prayer, not only the majesty of a king 
and an anointed of God, but such grejit, inexhaustible kind- 
ness that evidently it would be enough for the greatest ren- 
egade, the most guilty man, only to stretch out his hands to 
that father, and that fatlier would receive him, forgive him, 
and forget his offences. 

It seemed to Kmita at sight of him that some one had 
squeezed his heart with an iron hand. Comi)assion rose in 
the ardent soul of the young hero. Compunction, sorrow, 
and homage straitened the breath in his throat, a feeling of 
immeasurable guilt cut his knees under him so that he 
began to tremble through his whole body, and at once a new 
feeling rose in his breast. In one moment he had conceived 
such a love for that suffering king that to him there was 
nothing dearer on earth than that father and lord, for whom 
he was ready to sacrifice blood and life, bear torture and 
everything else in the world. He wished to throw himself at 
those feet, to embrace those knees, and implore forgiveness 
for his crimes. The noble, the insolent disturber, had died 
in him in one moment, and the royalist was born, devoted 
with his whole soul to his king. 

"That is our lord, our unhappy king," repeated he to 
himself, as if he wished with his lips to give witness to what 
his eyes saw and what his heart felt. 

After the Gospel, Yan Kazimir knelt again, stretched out 
his arms, raised his eyes to heaven, and was sunk in prayer. 
The priest went out at last, there was a movement in the 
ehurch, the king remained kneeling. 

Then that noble whom Kmita had addressed pushed Pan 
Andrei in the side. 

" But who are you ? " asked lie. 

Kmita did not understand the (piestion at once, and did 
not answer it directly, so greatly were his heart and mind 
occupied by the person of the king. 

" And who are you ? " repeated that personage. 

"A noble like yourself," answered Pan Andrei, waking 
as if from a dream. 

" What is your name ? " 

" What is my name ? Babinich ; I am from Lithuania, 
from near Vityebsk." 


" And I am Pan Lugovski, of the king's household. Have 
you just come from Lithuania, from Vityebsk ? " 

" No ; I come from Chenstohova/' 

Pan Lugovski was dumb for a moment from wonder. 

" But if that is true, then come and tell us the news. The 
king is almost dead from anxiety because he has hfid no cer- 
tain tidings these three days. How is it ? You are perhaps 
from the squadron of Zbrojek, Kalinski, or Kuklinovski, 
from near Chenstohova.'' 

"Not from near Chenstohova, but directly from the 
cloister itself." 

" Are you not jesting ? What is going on there, what is 
to be heard ? Does Yasna ( Jora defend itself yet ? " 

" It does, and will defend itself. The »Swedes are about 
to retreat." 

" For God's sake ! The king will (»over you with gold. 
From the very cloister do you say that you have come ? 
How did the Swedes let you pass ? " 

" I did not ask their permission ; but ])ardon me, I can- 
not give a more extended account in the church.'' 

" Right, right ! " said Pan Lugovski. ** God is merciful ! 
You have fallen from heaven to us! It is not proper in 
the church, — right ! Wait a moment. The king will rise 
directly ; he will go to breakfast l)efore high Mass. To-day 
is Sunday. Come stand with me at the door, and when the 
king is going out I will present you. Come, come, there is 
no time to spare." 

He pushed ahead, and Kmita followed. They had barel}^ 
taken their places at the door when the two pages ap])eare(K 
and after them came Van Kazimir slowly. 

" Gracious King ! " cried Pan Lugovski, " there are tidings 
from Chenstohova." 

The wax-like face of Van Kazimir l)ecame animated in 
an instant. 

** What tidings ? Where is the man ? " inquired he. 

" This noble ; he says that he has come from the very 

" Is the cloister captured ? " cried the king. 

That moment Pan Andrei fell his whole length at the 
feet of the king. Yan Kazimir inclined and began to raise 
him by the arms. 

" Oh, ceremony another time, another time ! " cried he. 
"Rise, in God's name, rise I Speak quickly ! Is the clois- 
ter taken ? " 


Rmita sprang up with tears in his eyes, and cried with 
animation, — 

"It is not, anil will not be taken, Gracious Lord. The 
Swedes are bt-aten. The great gun Is blown up. There is 
fear among them, hunger, misery. They are thinking of 

" I'l'aise, praise to Thee, Queen of the Angels and of us ! " 
said the king. Then he turned to the church door, removed 
his hat, and without entering knelt on the snow at the door. 
He supported his head on a. stone pillar, and sank into 
silence. After a while sobbing began to shake hira. Emo- 
tion seized all, and Pan Andrei wept loudly. The king, 
after be had prayed and shed tears, rose quieted, with a 
face much clearer. He inquired his name of Kmita, and 
when the latter had told his assumed one, said, — 

" Let I'an Lugovski conduct you at once to our quarters. 
We shall not take our morning food withoiit hearing of the 

A quarter of an hour later Kmita was standing in the 
king's chamber before a distinguished assembly. The king 
was only waiting for the queen, to sit down to breakfast. 
Marya Ludvika appeared soon, Yan Kozimir barely saw 
her when he exclaimed, — 

" Chenstoliova has held out ! The Swedes will retreat ! 
Here is Pan Babinich, who has just come, and he brings the 

The black eyes of the queen rested inquiringly on the 
youthful face of the hero, and seeing its sincerity, they grew 
bright with joy; and he, when he ha<l made a profound 
obeisance, looked also at her Imldly, as truth and honesty 
know how to look. 

" The p()wcr of God ! " said tlie queen. " You have taken 
a terrible weight from our hearts, and God grant this is the 
beginning of a change of fortime. Do you come straight 
from near Ohenstohova ? " 

" Not from ueiir Ohenstohova, he says, but from the clois- 
ter itself, — one of Die defenders!" exclaimed tha king. 
"A golden guest I (iod grant such to come daily; but let 
him begin. Tell, brother, tell how you defended yourselves, 
and how the hand of God guarded you." 

" It is sure, Gracious King and Queen, that nothing saved 
ua but the guardianship of ( kxl and the miracles of the Most 
Holy Lady, which I saw every day with my eyes, " 

Here Kmita was preparing for his narrative, when new 


dignitarios appe.'\red. First came the nuncio of the Pope ; 
then the primate, Leshcliynski ; after him Vydjga, a golden- 
mouthed preacher, who was the (pieen's chancellor, later 
bishop of Varmia, and finally primate. With him canip 
the chanirt^llor of the kingdom, Tan Korytsinski, and the 
Frenchman De Noyers, a relative ot the queen, and other 
dignitcaries who had not deserted the king in misfortune, 
but chose to share with him the bitter bread of exile rather 
than break plighted faith. 

The king was eager to hear ; therefore he ceased eating, 
every moment, and repeated, ** Listen, gentlemen, listen ; 
a guest from Chenstohova ! Good news ; hear it ! From 
Yasna Gora itself I " 

Then the dignitaries looked with curiosity on Kmita, who 
was standing as it were before a court ; but he, bold by na- 
ture and accustomed to intercourse with great peoj)le, was 
not a whit alarmed at sight of so many celebrated persons ; 
and when all luad taken their places, he began to describe 
the whole siege. 

Truth was evident in his words ; for he spoke with clear 
ness and strength, like a soldier who had seen everything, 
touched everything, passed through everything. He praised 
to the skies l*an Zamoyski and Pan Charnyetski ; spoke 
of Kordetski, the prior, as of a holy proi)het ; exalted other 
fathers ; missed no one save himself ; but he ascribed the 
whole success of the defence, without deviation, to the Most 
Holy Lady, to Her favor and miracles. 

The king and the dignitaries listened to him in amaze- 
ment. The archbishop raised his tearful eyes to heaven. 
Father Vydjga interpreted everything hurriedly to the 
nuncio ; other great personages caught their heads ; some 
prayed, or beat their breasts. 

At last, when Kmita came to the recent storms, — when 
he began to relate how i\lill(T h<ad brought heavy guns from 
Oacow, and among them one against which not only the 
walls of Chenstohova, Init no walls in the world could 
stand, — such silence began as though some one were sow- 
ing poppy seeds, and all eyes rested on Pan Andrei's 

But he stopped suddenly, and began to breathe quickly ; 
a clear flush came out on his face ; he frowned, raised his 
head, and spoke l»oldly : "Now I must speak of myself, 
though I sh(mld prefer to be silent. And if I say aught 
which seems praise, God is my witness that I do so "not for 


rewards, for I do not need them, since the greatest reward 
for me is to shed my blood for majesty." 

" Speak boldly, I believe you," said the king. " But that 
great gun ? " 

** That great gun — I, stealing out in the night from the 
fortress, blew into fragments with powder." 

" O loving God ! " cried the king. 

But after this cry was silence, such astonishment had 
seized each person. All looked as at a rainbow at the young 
hero, who stood with flashing eyes, with a flush on his face, 
and with head ])roudly erect. And so much was there in 
him at that moment of a certain terribleness and wild cour- 
age that the thought came to each one unwittingly, such a 
man might dare such a deed. After silence of a moment 
the primate said, — 

" This man looks like that ! " 

** How did you do it ? " asked the king. 

Kmita explained how he did it. 

" 1 cannot l)elieve my ears," said Pan Korytsinski, the 

" Worthy gentlemen," answered the king, with dignity, 
" you do not know whom we have before us. There is yet 
hope that the Commonwealth has not perished while it 
gives such cavaliers and citizens." 

" This man might say of himself, * Si fractus illabatur 
orbis, impavldum ferient ruhue (If the broken Armament 
should fall the ruins would strike him unterrified) ! ' " said 
Father Vydjga, who loved to quote authors at every 

** These are almost impossible things," said the chancellor 
again. " Tell, Cavalier, how you brought away your life, 
and how you passed through the Swedes." 

** The explosion stunned nje," said Kmita, " and next day 
the Swedes found me in the dit(^h lying as if lifeless. They 
judged me at once, and Miller condemned me to death." 

" Then did you escape ? " 

" A ceitain Kuklinovski begged me of Miller, so that 
he might put me to death, for he had a fierce animosity 
against me." 

" He is a well-known disturber and murderer ; we have 
heard of him," said the castellan of Kjy vinsk. " His regi- 
ment is with Miller at Chenstohova. That is true ! " 

"Previously Kuklinovski was an envoy from Miller to 
the cloister, and once tried to persuade me in secret to 


treason when 1 was conducting him to the gate. I struck 
him in the face and kicked him. For that insult he was 
enraged against me." 

" Ah, this I see is a noble of fire and sulphur ! " cried the 
king, amused. ** Do not go into such a man's road. Did 
Miller then give you to Kuklinovski ? " 

" He did, Gracious Gentlemen. Kuklinovski shut me with 
himself and some men in an empty little barn. There he 
had me tied to a beam with ropes ; then he began to torture 
me and to burn my sides with fire." 

" By the living God ! " 

" While doing this he was called away to Miller ; when 
he was gpn^ three nobles came, certain Kyemliches, his 
soldiers, who had served with me previously. They killed 
the guards, and unbound me from the beam — " 

" And you fled ! Now I understand," said the king. 

" No, your Royal Grace. We waited for the return of 
Kuklinovski. Then I gave command to tie him to that 
same beam, and I burned him better with fire." 

When he had said this, Kmita, roused by remembrance, 
became red again, and his eyes gleamed like those of a wolf. 
But the king, who passed easily from grief to joy, from 
seriousness to sport, began to strike the table with his 
hand, and exclaim with laughter, — 

"That was good for him ! that was good for him ! Such 
a traitor deserved nothing better ! " 

" I left him alive," continued Kmita, " but he must have 
perished from cold before morning." 

" That 's a deed ; he does not give away his own. W^e 
need more of such ! " cried the king, now completely de- 
lighted. " Did you come hither with those soldiers ? What 
are their names ? " 

" They are Kyemlich, a father and two sons." 

" My mother is from the house of Kyemlich," said Father 

"It is evident that there are great and small Kyem- 
liches," answered Kmita, smiling j " these are not only 
small persons, but robbers ; they are fierce soldiers, how- 
ever, and faithful to me." 

Meanwhile the chancellor, who had been whispering for a 
time in the ear of the Archbishop of Gnyezno, said at last, — 

" Many come here who for their own praise or for an ex- 
pected reward are glad to raise dust. They bring false and 
disturbing news, and are frequently sent by the enemy." 


This remark chilled all present. Kmita's face became 

" I do not know the office of your grace," said he, " which, 
I think, must be considerable, therefore I do not wish to 
offend you ; but there is no office, as I think, which would 
empower any one to give the lie to a noble, without reason." 

" Man ! you are speaking to the grand chancellor of the 
kingdom," said Lugovski. 

" Whoso gives me the lie, even if he is chancellor, I an- 
swer him, it is easier to give the lie than to give your life, 
it is easier to seal with wax than with blood I " 

Pan Korytsinski was not angry ; he only said : ** I do not 
give you the lie, Cavalier; but if what you say is true, you 
must have a burned side." 

" Come to another place, your great mightiness, to another 
room, and I will show it to you I " roared Kmita. 

" It is not needful," said the king ; ** I believe you with- 
out that." 

" It cannot be, your Royal Grace," exclaimed Pan Andrei ; 
" I wish it myself, I beg it as a favor, so that here no one, 
even though 1 know not how worthy, should make me an 
exaggerator. My torment would be an ill reward ; I wish 

" I believe you," answered the king. 

" Truth itself was in his words," added Mary a Ludvika. 
" I am not deceived in men." 

" Gracious King and Queen, permit. Let some man go 
aside with me, for it would be grievous for me to live here 
in suspicion." 

" I will go," said Pan Tyzenhauz, a young attendant of 
the king. So saying, he conducted Kmita to another room, 
and on the way said to him, " I do not go because I do not 
believe you, for I believe ; but to speak with you. Have 
we met somewhere in Lithuania ? I cannot remember your 
name, for it may be that I saw you when a youth, and I my- 
self was a youth then ? " 

Kmita turned away his face somewhat to hide his sudden 

" Perhaps at some provincial diet. My late father took 
me with him frequently to see public business." 

" Perhaps. Your face is surely not strange to me, though 
at that time it had not those scars. Still see how vietnoria 
fragilis est (weak memory is) ; also it seems to me you had 
a different name." 


" Years dull the memory," answered Pan Andrei. 

They went to another coom. After a while Tyzenhauz 
returned to the royal pair. 

" He is roasted, Gracious King, as on a spit," said he ; 
" his whole side is burned." 

When Kmita in his turn came back, the king rose, pressed 
his head, and said, — 

" We have never doubted that you speak the truth, and 
neither your pain nor your services will pass unrewarded." 

" We are your debtors," added the queen, extending her 
hand to him. 

Pan Andrei dropped on one knee and kissed with rever- 
ence the hand of the queen, who stroked him on the head 
like a mother. 

" Be not angry with the chancellor," said the king. ** In 
this place there are really not a few traitors, or, if not trai- 
tors, men who are unwise, that wind three after three, and it 
belongs to the chancellor's office to discover truth touching 
public affairs." 

" What does my poor anger mean for such a great man ? " 
answered Pan Andrei. " And 1 should not dare to murmur 
against a worthy senator, who gives an example of loyalty 
and love of country to all." 

The chancellor smiled kindly and extended his hand. 
" Well, let there be peace ! You spoke ill to me of wax ; 
but know this, that the Korytsinskis have sealed often with 
blood, not with wax only." 

The king was rejoiced. " This Babinich has pleased us," 
said he to the senators, " has touched our heart as few 
have. We will not let you go from our side, and God grant 
that we shall return together soon to our beloved country." 

"Oh, Most Serene King," cried Kmit<a, with ecstasy; 
" though confined in the fortress of Yasna Gora, I know 
from the nobles, from the army, and even from those who, 
serving under Zbrojek and Kalinski, besieged Chenstohova, 
that all are waiting for the day and the hour of your return. 
Only show yourself, Gracious Lord, and that day all Lithu 
ania, Poland, and Russia will stand by you as one man I 
The nobles will join; even insignificant peasants will go 
with their lord to resist. The army under the hetmans is 
barely breathing from eagerness to move against the Swedes. 
I know this, too, that at Chenstohova deputies came from 
the hetmans' troops to arouse Zbrojek, Kalinski, and 
Kuklinovski, against the Swedes. Appear on the boundary 


to-day, and in a week there will not be a Swede ; only ap- 
pear, only show yourselt, tor we are there like sheep without 
a shepherd/' 

Sparks uaine from Kmita's eyes while he was S})eaking, 
and such great ardor seized him that he knelt m the middle 
of the hall. His enthusiasm was communicated even to the 
queen herself, who, t)eing of fearless courage, had long been 
persuading the king to return. 

Therefore, turning to Van Kazimir, she said with energy 
and determination : ** I hear the voice of the whole people 
through the mouth of this noble.'' 

"That is true, that is true, Gracious Lady, our Mother! " 
exclaimed Kmita. 

But certain words in what Kmita had said struck the 
chancellor and the king. 

"We have always been ready," said the king, "to sacri- 
fice our health and life, and hitherto we have been waiting 
for nothing else but a change in our subjects." 

"That change has taken place already,*' said Marya 

^^ Majestas htfracta mat 'is (Majesty unbroken by misfor- 
tune) ! " said FatluM* Vydjga, looking at her with homage. 

"It is important,'' said the archbishop, "if, really, depu- 
tations from the hetuums went to Chenstohova." 

" I know this from my men, those Kyemliches," answered 
Pan Andrei. " In the squadrons of Zbrojek and Kalinski 
all si)oke openly of this, paying no attention to Miller and 
the Swedes. These Kyemliches were not enclosed in the 
fortress ; they had relations with the world, with soldiers 
and nobles, — I can bring them before your Royal Grace and 
your worthinesses ; let them tell how it is seething in the 
whole country as in a pot. The hetmans joined the Swedes 
from constraint only ; the troops wish to return to duty. 
The Swedes beat nobles and priests, plunder, violate ancient 
liberties ; it is no wonder then that each man balls his fist 
and looks anxiously at his sabre." 

" We, too, have had news from the troops," said the king ; 
" there were here, also, secret envoys who told us of the 
general wish to return to former loyalty and honor." 

" And that agrees with what this cavalier tells," said the 
chancellor. " But if deputations are passing among the 
regiments it is important, for it means that the fruit is 
already ripe, that our efforts were not vain, that our work 
is accomplished, that the time is at hand." 


" But Konyetspolski," said the king, " and so many others 
who are still at the side of the invader, who look into his 
eyes and give assurances of their devotion ? " 

Then all grew silent, the king became gloomy on a sud- 
den, and as when the sun goes behind a cloud a shadow 
covers at once the whole world, so did his face grow dark. 
After a time he said, — 

" God sees in our heart that even to-day we are ready to 
move, and that not the power of Sweden detains us, but the 
unhappy fickleness of our people, who, like Proteus, take 
on a new form every moment. Can we believe that this 
change is sincere, this desire not imagined, this readiness 
not deceitful ? Can we believe that people who so recently 
deserted us, and with such light hearts joined the invader 
against their own king, against their own country, against 
their own liberties ? Pain straitens our heart, and we are 
ashamed of our own subjects ! Where does history show 
such examples ? What king has met so many treasons, so 
nuich ill-will ? Who has been so deserted ? Call to mind, 
your kindnesses, that we in the midst of our army, in the 
midst of those who were bound to shed their blood for us, 
— it is a danger and a terror to tell it, — we were not sure 
of our life. And if we left the country and had to seek an 
asylum, it is not from fear of the Swedish enemy, but of 
our own subjects, to save our own children from the terrible 
crime of king murder and parricide." 

"Gracious Lord!" exclaimed Kmita; "our people have 
sinned grievously ; they are guilty, and the hand of God is 
punishing them justly ; but still, by the wounds of Christ, 
there has not been found among that j)eople, and God grant 
that there will never be found, a man who woiUd raise his 
hand on the sacred person of the anointed of God." 

" You do not believe, because you are honest," said the 
king, " but we have letters and proofs. The Radzivills have 
paid us badly for the kindness with which we have covered 
them ; but still Boguslav, though a traitor, was moved by 
conscience, and not only did he not wish to lend a hand to 
such a deed, but he was the first to warn us of it." 

"What deed?" asked the astonished Kmita. 

" He informed us," said the king, " that there was a man 
who offered for one hundred gold ducats to seize us and 
deliver us, living or dead, to the Swedes." 

A shiver passed through the whole assembly at these 
words of the king, and Kmita was barely able to groan out 
the question, " Who was that aoian ? — who was he ? " 


" A certaiu Kmita," answered the king. 

A wave of blood suddenly struck Pan Andrei in the head, 
it grew dark in his eyes, he seized his forelock, and with a 
terribly wandering voice said : " That is a lie ! Prince Bo- 
guslav lies like a dog I Gracious King, believe not that 
traitor; he did that of purpose to bring infamy on an 
enemy, and to frighten you, my king. He is a traitor! 
Kmita would not have done such a deed." 

Here Pan Andrei turned suddenly where he was standing. 
His strength, exhausted by the siege, undermined by the 
explosion of powder in the great gun, and through the tor- 
ture given by Kuklinovski, left him altogether, and he fell 
without consciousness at the feet of the king. 

They bore him into the adjoining room, where the king's 
physician examined him. But in the assembly of dignitaries 
they knew not how to explain why the words of the king 
had produced such a terrible impression on the young man. 

" Either he is so honest that horror alone has thrown him 
off his feet, or he is some relative of that Kmita," said the 
castellan of Cracow. 

" We must ask him," replied the chancellor. " In Lithua- 
nia nobles are all related one to another, as in fact they are 
with us." 

" Gracious Lord," said Tyzenhauz, " God preserve me from 
wishing to speak evil of this young man ; but we should 
not trust him at present too much. That he served in 
Chenstohova is certain, — his side is bunied ; this the monks 
would not have done in any event, for they as servants of 
God must have every clemency, even for prisoners and 
traitors ; but one thing is coming continually to my head 
and destroying trust in him, that is, I met him somewhere 
in Lithuania, — still a youth, at a diet or a carnival, — I 
don't remember — " 

"And what of that ? " asked the king. 

"And it seems to me always that his name was not 

"Do not tell every little thing," said the king; "you are 
young and inattentive, and a thing might easily enter your 
head. Whether he is Babinich or not, why should 1 not 
trust him ? Sincerity and tnith are written on his lips, 
and evidently he has a golden heart. I should not trust 
myself, if I could not trust a soldier who has shed his blood 
for us and the country." 

" He deserves more confidence than the letter of Prince 


Boguslav," said the queen, suddenly, **and I recouimeud 
this to the consideration of your worthinesses, there may 
not be a word of truth in that letter. It might have been 
very important for the Radzivills of iUrji that we should 
lose courage completely, and it is easy to admit that Prince 
Boguslav wished also to ruin some enemy of his, and leave 
a door open to himself in case of changed fortune." 

" If 1 were not accustomed," said the primate, ** to hear 
wisdom itself coming from the mouth of the gracious queen, 
I should be astonished at the quickness of these words, 
worthy of the ablest statesman — " 

" Comasque gere7is, animosque viriles (Though wearing 
tresses, she has the courage of a man)," interrupted 
Father Vydjga, in a low voice. 

Encouraged by these words, the queen rose from her 
chair and began to speak : " I care not for the Radzivills 
of Birji, for they, as heretics, listen easily to the whispers 
of the enemy of the human race ; nor of the letter of Prince 
Boguslav, which may touch private affairs. But I am most 
pained by the despairing words of my lord and husband, the 
king, spoken against this people. For who will spare them 
if their own king condemns them ? And still, when I look 
through the world, I ask in vain, where is there another 
such people in which the praise of God endures with the 
manner of ancient sincerity and increases continually ? In 
vain do I look for another people in which such open candor 
exists. Where is there another State in which no one has 
heard of those hellish blasphemies, subtle crimes, and never- 
ending feuds with which foreign chronicles are filled. Let 
people skilled in the history of the world show me another 
kingdom where all the kings died their own quiet deaths. 
You have no knives or poisons here ; you have no protectors, 
as among the English. It is true that this nation has grown 
grievously guilty, has sinned through frivolity and license. 
But where is the nation that never errs, and where is the 
one which, as soon a.s it has recognized its offence, begins 
penance and reformation ? Behold they have already taken 
thought, they are now coming, beating their breasts to your 
majesty, ready to spill their blood, to yield their lives, to 
sacrifice their fortune for you. And will you reject them j 
will you not forgive the penitent ; will you not trust those 
who have reformed, those who are doing penance; will 
you not return the affection of a father to children who 
have erred ? Trust them, since they are yearning for their 


Yagyellon blood, and for your government, which is of their 
fathers. Go among them ; I, a woman, fear no treason, for 
I see love, I see sorrow for sins and restoration of this 
kingdom to which they called you after your father and 
your brother. It does not seem to me likely that God will 
destroy such a great commonwealth, in which the light of 
the true faith is burning. For a short period God's justice 
has stretched forth the rod to chastise, not to ruin its chil- 
dren, and soon will the fatherly love of that heavenly Lord 
receive them and cherish them. But do not contemn them, 
O king, and fear not to confide in their sonly discretion, for 
in this way alone can you turn evil into good, suffering into 
comfort, defeat Into triumph.'^ 

When she had said this, the queen sat down, with fire 
still in her eyes, and heaving breast ; all looked at her with 
veneration, and her chancellor, Vydjga, began to speak with 
a resonant voice, — 

" Nulla 8ors louga est, dolor et voluptas, 
Invicens cednut. 
Ima perinutat brevis hora summis." 

(No fortuue is long, pain and pleasure 

Yield in turn. 

A short hour changes the lowest with the highest.) 

But no one heard what he said, for the ardor of the heroic 
lady was communicated to every heart. The king himself 
sprang up, with a flush on his sallow face, and said, — 

"I have not lost the kingdom yet, since I have such a 
queen. Let her will be done, for she spoke with prophetic 
inspiration. The sooner I move and appear in my realms 
the better." 

To this the primate answered with seriousness: "I do 
not wish to oppose the will of my gracious king and queen, 
nor to turn them from an undertaking in which there is 
hazard, but in which there may be also salvation. Still 1 
should consider it a wise thing to assemble in Opol, where 
a majority of the senators are tarrying, and there listen to 
the ideas of all ; these may develop and explain the affair 
more clearly and broadly." 

" Then to Opol ! ' ' exclaimed the king, " and afterward to 
the road, and what God will give ! " 

" God will give a happy return and victory ! " said the 

"Amen ! " said the primate. 



Pan Andbbi fretted in his lodgings like a wounded wild- 
cat. The hellish revenge of Boguslav Radzivill brought him 
almost to madness. Not enough that that jjiinee had sprung 
out of his hands, killed his men, almost deprived him of 
life ; he had put upon him besides shame such as no one, 
not merely of his name, but no Pole from the beginning of 
the world, had ever groaned under. 

There were moments when Kmita wished to leave every- 
thing — the glory which was opening before him, the service 
of the king — and fly away to avenge himself on that mag- 
nate whom he wanted to eat up alive. 

But on the other hand, in spite of all his rage and the 
whirlwind in his head, he remembered that while the prince 
lived revenge would not vanish; and the best means, the 
only way to hurl back his calumny and lay bare all the 
infamy of his accusation, was precisely the service of 
the king ; for in it he could show the world that not only 
had he not thought of raising his hand against the sacred 

Ejrson of Yan Kazimir, but that among all the nobles of 
ithuania and Poland no person more loyal than Kmita 
could be found. 

But he gnashed his teeth and was boiling like a stew ; 
he tore his clothing, and long, long was it before he could 
calm himself. He gloated over the thought of revenge. 
He saw this Radzivill again in his hands ; he swore by the 
memory of his father, that he must reach Boguslav even 
if death and torments were awaiting him therefor. And 
though the prince was a mighty lord whom not only the 
revenge of a common noble, but even the revenge of a king, 
could not easily touch ; still, whoso knew that unrestrained 
Boul better, would not have slept calmly, and more than 
once would have trembled before his vows. 

And still Pan Andrei did not know yet that the prince 
had not merely covered him with shame and robbed him of 

Meanwhile the king, who from the first had conceived a 
great love for the young hero, sent Pan Lugovski to him 


that same day, and on the morrow commanded Kmita to 
accompany his majesty to Opol, where at a general as- 
sembly of the senators it was intended to deliberate on the 
return of the king to tlie country. Indeed there was some- 
thing over which to deliberate. Lyubomirski, the marshal 
of the kingdom, had sent a new letter, announcing that 
everything in the country was ready for a general war, and 
urging earnestly the return. Besides this, news was spread 
of a certain league of nobles and soldiers formed for the 
defence of the king and the country, concerning which men 
had really l>eeii thinking for some time, but which, as ap- 
peared afterward, was concluded a little later, under the 
name of the Confederation of Tishovtsi. 

All minds were greatly occupie<l by the news, and im- 
mediately after a thanksgiving !Mass they assembled in 
a secret council, to which, at the instance of the king, 
Kmita too was admitted, since he had brought news from 

They began then to discuss whether the return was to 
take place at once, or whether it were better to defer it till 
the army, not only by wish, but by deed, should abandon 
the Swedes. 

Yan Kazimir ])ut an end to these discussions by saying : 
" Do not discuss, your worthinesses, the return, or whether it 
is better to defer it awhile, for I have taken counsel already 
concerning that with God and the Most Holy Lady. There- 
fore I communicate to you that whatever may happen we 
shall move in person these days. Express your ideas 
therefore, your worthinesses, and be not sparing of coun- 
sel as to how our return may be best and most safely 

Opinions were various. Some advised not to trust too 
greatly to the marshal of the kingdom, who had once 
shown hesitiition and disobedience, when, instead of giv- 
ing the crown to the emperor for safe keeping, according 
to the order of the king, he had carried it to Lyubovlya. 
" Great," said they, *' is the pride and ambition of that lord, 
and if he should have the person of the king in his castle, 
who knows what he might do, or what he w^ould ask for 
his services ; who knows that he would not try, or wish to 
seize the whole government in his own hands, and become 
the protector, not only of the entire country, but oL the 
king ? " 

These advised the king therefore to wait for the retreat 

VOL. II. — 9 


of the Swedes and repair to Chenstohova, as to the place 
from which grace and rebirth had spread over the Common- 
wealth. But others gave different opinions, — 

" The Swedes are yet at Chenstohova, and though by the 
grace of God they will not capture the place, still there are 
no unoccupied roads. All the districts about there are in 
Swedish hands. The enemy are at Kjei)itsi, Vyelunie, Cra- 
cow ; along the boundary also considerable forces are dis- 
posed. In the mountains near the Hungarian border, where 
Lyubovlya is situated, there are no troops save those of the 
marshal j the Swedes have never gone to that distance, not 
having men enough nor daring sufficient. From Lyubovlya 
it is nearer to Russia, which is free of hostile occupation, 
and to Lvoff, which has not ceased to be loyal, and to the 
Tartars, who, according to information, are coming with 
succor ; all these are waiting specially for the derision of 
the king." 

" As to Pan Lyulx)mirski,'* said the Bisho]) of Cracow, 
" his ambition will be satisfied with this, that he will re- 
ceive the king first in his starostaship of Spij, and will sur- 
round him with protection. The government will remain 
with the king, but the hope itself of great services will 
satisfy the marshal. If he wishes to tower above all others 
through his loyalty, then, whether his loyalty flows from 
ambition or from love to the king and the country, his in:ij- 
esty will always receive notable profit/' 

This opinion of a worthy and experienced bishop seemed 
the most proper ; therefore it was decided that the king 
snould go through the mountains to Lyubovlya, and thence 
to Lvoff, or whithersoever circumstances might indicate. 

They discussed also the day of returning ; but tlie voevoda 
of Lenchytsk, who had just come from his mission to the 
emperor for aid, said that it was better not to fix the date, 
but to leave the decision to the king, so that the news might 
not be spread and the enemy forewarned. They decided 
only this, that the king would move on with three hundred 
dragoons, under command of Tyzeiihauz, who. though young, 
enjoyed already the reputation of a great soldier. 

But still more imj)ortant was the second ])art of the de- 
liberations, in which it was voted unanimously that on his 
arrival in the country, government and tlie direction of the 
war should pass into the hands of the king, whom nobles, 
troops, and hetmans were to ol)ey m all things. They 
spoke besides of the future, and touched upon the causes 


of those sudden misfortunes which, as a deluge, had cov- 
ered the whole laud in such a brief period. And the pri- 
mate himself gave no other cause for this than the disorder, 
want of obedience, and excessive contempt for the office 
and majesty of the king. 

He was heard in silence, for each man understood that 
it was a question here of the fate of the Commonwealth, 
and of great, hitherto unexampled changes in it, which 
might bring back the ancient ])Ower of the State, and 
which was long desired by the wise queen who loved 
her adopted country. 

From the mouth of the worthy prince of the church there 
came words like thundorl)olts, and the souls of the hearers 
opened to the truth, almost as flowers open to the sun. 

" Not against ancient liberties do J rise," said the pri- 
mate, " but against that license which with its own hands 
is murdering the country. In very truth men have forgot- 
ten in this Commonwealth the distinction between freedom 
and license ; and as excessive pleasure ends in pain, so free- 
dom unchecked has ended in slavery. You have descended 
to such error, citizens of this illustrious Commonwealth, that 
only he anionji; you pjisses for a defen<Un* of liberty who 
raises an uproar, who breaks diets an<l opposes the king, 
not when it is needful, but when tor tli<» king it is a ques- 
tion of saving the country. In our treasury the bottom ot 
the chest can be seen ; the soldier un])aid seeks pay of the 
enemy; the diets, the only foundation of this Common- 
wealth, are dissolved after having done nothing, for one 
disorderly man, one evil citizen, for liis own private pur- 
pose may ])revent delibeiation. What manner of liberty is 
that which permits one man to stand against all ? If that 
is freedom for one man, then it is lK3n(lage for all others. 
And where liave we gone with the use of this freedom 
which sei^med sueli sweet fruit ? Behold one weak enemy, 
against whom our ancestors gained so many splendid vic- 
tories, now sinit fulfjur exit ah oorulpute rt jtoret usf/ue ad 
orlentem (flashes like lightning from the west, and goes as 
far as the east). No one o})poses him, traitorous heretics 
aided him, and he seized i)Oss(»ssion of all things ; he perse- 
cutes the faith, he desecrates churches, and when you speak 
of your liberties he shows you the sword. Behold what 
your provincial diets have come to, what your veto has 
come to, what your liei^nse has come to, your degradation 
of the king at every step. Your king, the natural defender 


of the country, you have rendered, first of all, powerless, 
and then you complain that he does not defend you. You 
did not want your own government, and now the enemy is 
governing. And who, 1 ask, can save us in this fall, wlio 
can bring back ancient glory to this Commonwealth, if not 
he who has spent so much of his life and time for it ; when 
the unhappy domestic war with the Cossacks tore it, who 
exposed his consecrated i>erson to dangers such as no mon- 
arch in our time has passed through ; who at Zborovo, at 
Berestechko, and at Jvanyets fought like a common sol- 
dier, bearing toils and hardships beyond his station of king ? 
To him now we will confide ourselves ; to him, with the ex- 
ample of the ancient Romans, we will give the dictatorship, 
and take counsel ourselves how to save in time coming this 
fatherland from domestic enemies, from vice, license, dis- 
order, disobedience, and restore due dignity to the govern- 
ment and the king.'' 

So spoke the primate ; and misfortune with the experience 
of recent times had changed his hearers in such a degree 
that no man ])rotested, for all saw clearly that either the 
power of the king must be strengthened, or the Common- 
wealth must perish without fail. They began therefore 
to consider in various ways how to bring the counsels of 
the primate into practice. The king and queen listened to 
them eagerly and with joy, especially the queen, who had 
labored long and earnestly at the introduction of order into 
the Commonwealth. 

The king returned then to Glogov glad and satisfied, and 
summoning a number of confidential officers, among whom 
wiis Kmita, he said, — 

" I am impatient, my stay in this country is burning me, 
I could wish to start even to-morrow ; therefore I have called 
you, as men of arms and experience, U^ ]irovide ready 
methods. It is a pity that we should lose time, when our 
presence may hasten considerably a general war.'* 

" In truth/' said Lugovski, " if such is the will of your 
Royal Grace, why delay ? The sooner the better." 

** While the aft'air is not noised about and the enemy do 
not double their watchfulness," added Colonel Wolf. 

" The enemy are already on their guard, and have taken 
possession of the roads so far as they are able/' said Kmita. 

" How is that ? " asked the king. 

** Gracious Lord, your intended return is no news for 
the Swedes. Almost every day a report travels over the 


whole Commonwealth, that your Royal Grace is already on 
the road, or even now in your realms, inter regna. There- 
fore it is necessary to observe the greatest care, and to 
hurry by through narrow places stealthily, for Douglas's 
scouts are waiting on the roads." 

" The best carefulness,'' said Tyzenhauz, looking at Kmita, 
" is three hundred faithful sabres ; and if my gracious lord 
gives me command over them, I will conduct him in safety, 
even over the breasifej of Douglas's scouts/' 

"You will conduct if there are just three hundred, but 
suppose that you meet six hundred or a thousand, or come 
upon a superior force waiting in ambush, what then ? ■' 

" I said three hundred,'' answered Tyzenhauz, ** for three 
hundred were mentioned. If however that is too small a 
party, we can provide live hundred and even more." 

" God save us from that. The larger the party, the more 
noise will it make,'' sai<l Kmita. 

" I think that the marshal of the kingdom will come out 
to meet us with his squadrons," put in the king. 

" The marshal will not come out," answered Kmita, " for 
he will not know the day and the hour, and even it' he did 
know some dtday might happen on the road, as is usual ; it 
is difficult to foresee everything." 

"A soldier says that, a genuine soldier ! " said the king. 
" It is clear that you are not a stranger to war." 

Kmita laughed, for he remembered his attacks on Hovan- 
ski. Who was more skilled than he in such actions ? To 
whom could the escort of the king be entrusted with more 
judgment ? 

But Tyzenhauz was evidently of a different opinion from 
the king, for he frowned and said with sarcasm against 
Kmita, " We wait then for your enlightened counsel." 

Kmita felt ill will in the words ; therefore he fixed his 
glance on Tyzenhauz and answered, — 

" My opinion is that the smaller the party the easier it 
will i)ass." 

" How is that ? " 

" The will of your Roval Grace is unfettered," said Kmita, 
" and can do wliat it likes, but my reason teaches me this : 
Let Pan Tyzenhauz go ahead with the dragoons, giving out 
purposely that he is conducting the king ; this he will do to 
attract the enemy to himself. His affair is to wind out, to 
escape from the trap safely. And we with a small band in 
a day or two will move after him with your Royal Grace ; 


and when the enemy's attention is turned in another direc- 
tion it will be easy for us to reach Lyubovlya/' 

The king clapped his hands with delight. " God sent us 
this soldier ! " cried he. ** Solomon could not judge better. 1 
give my vote for this plan, and there must not be another. 
They will hunt lor the kijig among the dragoons, and the king 
will pass by under their noses. It could not Ix^ better ! '' 

** Gracious King,'- cried Tyzenhauz, ** that is pastime.'' 

" Soldier's pastime I '^ said the king. ^ ** But no matter, 1 
will not recede from that plan." 

Kmita's eyes siionc from delight because his opinion had 
prevailed, but Tyzenhauz sprang from his seat. 

" Gracious Loril ! " said lie, *• 1 resign my command from 
the dragoons. Let some one else lead them." 

** And why is that ? " 

** For if your E-oyal Grace will go without defence, ex- 
posed to the play of fortune, to every destructive chance 
which may happen, I wish to be near your person to expose 
my breast for you and to die should the need be." 

** I thank you for your sincere intention," answered Yan 
Kazimir ; " but calm yourself, for in just such a way as 
Babinich advises shall I be least exposed.'' 

" Let Pan Babinich, or whatever his name may be, take 
what he advises on his own responsibility ! It may concern 
him that your Royal Grace be lost in the mountains. I take 
as witness God and my companions here present that I ad- 
vised against it from my soul." 

Scarcely had he finished speaking when Kmita s]>rang up, 
and standing face to face with Tyzenhauz asked, *• What do 
you mean by these words ? " 

Tyzenhauz measured him haughtily with his eyes from 
head to foot, and said, " Do not strain your head, little man, 
toward mine, the pla(;e is too high for you." 

To which Kmita with lightning in his eyes replied, *• It is 
not known for whom it would be too high if — " 

"If what? " asked Tyzenhauz, looking at him quickly. 

" If I should reach higher people than you." 

Tyzenhauz laughed. " But where would you seek them ? " 

"Silence ! " said the king suddenly, with a frown. " Do 
not begin a quarrel in my presence." 

Yan Kazimir made an impression of such dignity on all 
surrounding him, that both young men were silent and con- 
fused, remembering that in the presence of the king un- 
seemly words had escaped them. But the king added, — 


"Xo one has the rifihttoex.iltbiiiiself above that cavalier 
who burst tin- sifge gun uud escaped froui Swedish hands, 
even though his fjithor lived in a village, which, as I see, 
was not the case, for a bird from liis feathers, and blood 
from deeds an- uasily known. Drop yowr offences." Here 
the king turned to TjzfuhauK. ■' Yon wish it ; then remain 
with our person. We may not refuse that. Wolf or Den- 
liofE will lead th.; dragoons. lint liabinich too will remain, 
and we will go according to his counsel, for he has pleased 
onr ht'iirt." 

'■ I wash my hands I " said Tyzenhauz. 

" Only pifservc tin- secii-t, gentlemen. Let the dragoons 
go to Katibor to^IuJ■, and sproad as widely as possible the 
report that f um with them. And then be on the watch, 
for yon know not the duy nor the houi' — Go, Tyzenhauz, 
give the ordei' to thf caphun of the dragoons." 

Tyzenhau/ went out wringing his hands from anger and 
sorrow ; after liim went other officers. 

That same day the news thundered through all Glogov 
that the king had already gone to tlie Imnndaries of the 
Commonwealth. Even many distinguished senators thought 
that the deijartiirc bad I'eally taken place. Couriers, sent 
purposely, took the report to Opol and to the roads on the 

Tyzenliauz, though he had declared that he washed his 
hands, did not give up the affair as lost; aa attendant of 
the king, he had access to the jwrson of the monarch every 
moment made easy. That very dav tliereforo, after the drar 
goons had gone, he stood before tne face of Yan Kazimir, 
or rather before both royal persona, for Marya Ludvika was 

" I have come for the order," said lie ; " when do we 

"The day after to-morrow, before dawn." 

" Are many people to go ? " 

" You will go : Lngovski with the soldiers. The castellan 
of Sandomir goes iilso with me. I begged him to take as 
few men as possible; but we cannot disjwnse with a few 
trusty and tried sabres. Besides, his holiness the nuncio 
wishes to aceonipany me ; his presence will add importance, 
and will touch all who are faithful to the true church. He 
does not hesitate therefore to exjiose his sacred person to 
hazard. Do you have a care that there are not more than 
forty horses, for that is Babinich's counsel." 


" Gracious Lord I '' said Tyzenhauz. 

" And what do you wish yet ? " 

"On my knees I implore one favor. The question is 
settled, the dragoons have gone, — we shall travel without 
defence, and the first scouting party of a few tens of horses 
may capture us. Listen, your Royal Grace, to the prayer of 
your servant, on whose faithfulness God is looking, and do 
not trust in everything to that noble. He is an adroit man, 
since he has been able in so short a time to steal into your 
heart and favor ; but — " 

" Do you envy him ? " interrupted the king. 

" I do not envy him, Gracious Lord ; I do not wish even to 
suspect him of treason positively ; but I would swear that 
his name is not Babinich. Why does he hide his real name ? 
Why is it somehow inconvenient to tell what he did before 
the siege of Chenstohova ? Why specially has he insisted 
upon dragoons going out first, and that your Eoyal Grace 
should go without an escort ? " 

The king thought awhile, and began, according to his cus- 
tom, to pout his lips repeatedly. 

"If it were a question of collusion with the Swedes," said 
he at last, " what could three hundred dragoons do ? What 
power would they be, and what protection ? Babinich would 
need merely to notify the Swedes to dispose a few hundred 
infantry along the roads, and they could take us as in a net. 
But only think if there can be a question of treason here. 
He woiud have had to know beforehand the date of our 
journey, and to inform the Swedes in Cracow; and how 
could he do so, since we move the day after to-morrow ? He 
could not even guess that we would choose his plan ; we 
might have gone according to your suggestion or that of 
others. It was at first decided to go with the dragoons; 
then if he wished to talk with the Swedes this special party 
would have confused his arrangements, for he would have 
to send out new messengers and give fresh notice. All 
these are irrefragable reasons. And besides he did not in- 
sist at all on his opinion, as you say ; he only offered, as did 
others, what seemed to him best. No, no I Sincerity is 
looking forth from the eyes of that noble, and his burned 
side bears witness that he is ready to disregard even 

" His Royal Grace is right," said the queen, on a sudden ; 
"these points are irrefragable, and the advice was and is 


Tyzenhaiiz knew from experience that when the queen 
gave her opinion it would be vain for him to appeal to the 
king, Yan Kazimir had such confidence in her wit and 
penetration. And it was a question now with the young 
man only that the king should observe needful caution. 

" It is not my duty," answered he, " to oppose my king 
and queen. But if we are to go the day after to-morrow, 
let this Babinich not know of it till the hour of departure." 

" That may be," said the king. 

"And on the road I will have an eye on him, and should 
anything happen he will not go alive from my hands." 

" You will not have to act," said the queen. " Listen ; not 
you will preserve the king from evil happenings on the road, 
from treason, and snares of the enemy ; not you, not Babi- 
nich, not the dragoons, not the powers of earth, but the 
Providence of God, whose eye is turned continually on the 
shepherds of nations and the anointed of the Lord. It will 
guard him. It will protect him and bring him safely ; and 
in case of need, send him assistance, of which you do not 
even think, you who believe in earthly power only." 

" Most Serene Lady ! " answered Tyzenhauz, " I believe, 
too, that without the will of God not a hair will fall from 
the head of any man ; but to guard the king's person through 
fear of traitors is no sin for me." 

Mary a Ludvika smiled graciously. " But you suspect too 
hastily, and thus cast shame on a whole nation, in which, 
as this same Babinich has said, there has not yet been found 
one to raise his hand against his own king. Let it not as- 
tonish you that after such desertion, after such a breaking 
of oaths and faith as the king and I have experienced, I say 
still that no one has dared such a terrible crime, not even 
those who to-day serve the Swedes." 

" Prince Boguslav's letter, Gracious Lady ? " 

** That letter utters untruth," said the queen, with decision. 
" If there is a man in the Commonwealth ready to betray 
even the king, that man is Prince Boguslav, for he in name 
only belongs to this people." 

"Speaking briefly, do not put suspicion on Babinich," 
said tne king. " As to his name, it must be doubled in your 
head. Besides, we may ask him ; but how can we say to 
him here, how inquire, ' If you are not Babinich, then what 
is your name ? ' Such a question might pain an honest 
man terribly, and I'll risk my head that he is an honest 



" At such a price, Gracious Lord, I would not convince 
myself of his honesty." 

" Well, well, we are thankful for your care. To-morrow 
for prayer and penance, and the day after to the road, to 
the road I " 

Tyzenhauz withdrew with a sigh, and in the greatest 
secrecy began preparations that very day for the journey. 
Even dignitaries who were to accompany the king were not 
all informed of the time. But the servants were ordered to 
have horses in readiness, for they might start any day for 

The king did not show himself the entire following day, 
even in the church : but he lay in the form of a cross in liis 
own room till night, fasting and imploring the King of 
kings for aid, not for himself, but for the Commonwealth. 

Marya Ludvika, together with her ladies-in-waiting, was 
also in prayer. 

Then the following night freshened the strength of the 
wearied ones ; and when in darkness the Glogov church- 
bell sounded to matins, the hour had struck for the 



They rode through Katibor, merely stopping to feed the 
horses. No one recognized the king, no one paid much at- 
tention to the party, for all were occupied with the recent 
passage of the dragoons, among whom, as all thought, was 
the King of Poland. The retinue was about fifty in number, 
for several dignitaries accompanied the king ; five bishops 
alone, and among others the nuncio, ventured to share with 
him the toils of a journey not without peril. The road 
within the boundary of the empire, however, presented no 
danger. At Oderberg, not far from the junction of the 
Olsha with the Odra, they entered Moravia. 

The day was cloudy, and snow fell so thickly that it was 
not possible to .see the road a few steps ahead. But the 
king was joyous and full of courage, for a sign had been 
manifested which all considered most favorable, and which 
contemporary historians did not neglect to insert in their 
chronicles. Behold, just as the king was departing from 
Glogov, a little bird, entirely white, appeared before his 
horse and began to circle round, rising at times in the air, 
at times coming down to the head of the king, chirping and 
twittering joyously meanwhile. They remembered that a 
similar bird, but black, had circled over the king when he 
was retreating from Warsaw before the Swedes. 

But this was wliite, exactly of the size and form of a swal- 
low ; which fact roused the greater wonder, because it was 
deep winter, and swallows were not thinking yet of return. 
But all were rejoiced, and the king for the first few days 
spoke of nothing else, and promised himself the most suc- 
cessful future. It appeared from the beginning, too, how 
sound was Kmita's advice to travel apart. 

Everywhere in ^loravia people were telling of the recent 
passage of the King of Poland. Some stated that they had 
seen him with their own eyes, all in armor, with a* sword in 
his hand and a crown on his head. Various stories, also, 
were current of the forces which he had with him, and in 
general the number of his dragoons was exaggerated to the 
fabulous. There were some who had seen ten thousand, 


and who could not wait till the last horses, men, gunners, 
and flags had passed. 

'* Surely," said they, **the Swedes will spring before 
them, but what they will do with such a force is 

" Well," asked the king of Tyzenhauz, '* was not Babi- 
nich right ? ". 

*^ We are not in Lyubovlya yet. Gracious Lord," replied 
the young magnate. 

Babinich was satisfied with himself and with the journey. 
Generally he went ahead of the king's party with the three 
Kyemliches, examining the road ; sometimes he rode with 
the rest, entertaining the king with narratives of single 
incidents in the siege of Chenstohova, of which the king 
never had enough. And almost every hour that young 
hero, cheerful, mettlesome, eagle-like, drew nearer the heart 
of the king. Time passed for the monarch now in prayer, 
now in pious meditation on eternal life, now in discussing 
the coming war and the aid hoped from the emperor, and 
finally in looking at knightly amusements, with which the 
attendant soldiers endeavored to sliorten the time of the 
journey. For Yan Kazimir had this in his nature, that his 
mind passed easily from seriousness almost to frivolity, from 
hard labor to amusements, to which, when there wtis leisure, 
he gave himself with his whole soul, as if no care, no grief 
had pressed him at any time. 

The soldiers then exhibited themselves, each with what 
he could do ; the Kyemliches, Kosma, and Damian, immense 
and awkward figures, amused the king by In'oaking horse- 
shoes, which they broke like canes ; he ])aid them a thaler 
apiece, though his wallet was empty enough, for all his 
money, and even the diamonds and " y)arafanaly " (para- 
phernalia) of the queen, had been spent on the army. 

Pan Andrei exhibited himself by throwing a heavy 
hatchet, which he hurled upward with such force that it 
was barely visible, and then he sprang under the instrument 
with his horse and caught it by the handle as it fell. At 
sight of this the king clapped his hands. 

*^ I saw that done," said he, " by Pan Slushka, brother 
of the vice-chancellor's wife, but he threw not so high by 

" This is customary with us in Lithuania," said Pan An- 
drei ;' " and when a man practises it from childhood he be- 
comes skilful." 


** Whence have you those sears across the lip ? " asked 
the king of him once, pointing to Kmita's sears. "Some 
one went through you well with a sabre." 

"That is not from a sabre, Gracious Lord, but from a 
bullet. I was fired at by a man who put the pistol to my 

" An enemy or one of ours ? " 

" One of ours ; but an enemy whom I shall yet call to 
account, and till that happens it is not proper for me to 
si)eak of it." m 

"Have you such animosity as that ? " 

" I have no animosity. Gracious Lord, for on my head I 
bear a still deei)er scar i'rom a sabre, through which cut my 
soul almost left me ; but since an honorable man did it I 
harbor no offence against him." Kmita removed his cap 
and showed the king a deep furrow, the white edges of 
which were perfectly visible. " I am not ashamed of this 
wound," said he, " for it was given me by such a master 
that there is not another like him in the Commonwealth." 

" Who is such a master ? " 

" Pan Volodyovski." 

" For God's sake ! 1 know liim. He did wonders at 
Zbaraj. And I was at the wedding of his comrade, Skshe- 
tuski, who was the first to bring me news of the besieged. 
Those are great cavaliers ! And with them was a third, 
him the whole army glorified as the greatest of all. A 
fat noble, and so amusing that we almost burst our sides 
from laughter." 

" That is Pan Zagloba, T think ! " said Kmita ; " he is a 
man not only brave, but fidl of wonderful stratagems." 

" Do you know what they are doing now ? " 

"Volodyovski used to lead dragoons with the voevoda of 

The king frowned. " And is he serving the Swedes now 
with the prince voevotla ? " 

" He ! The Swedes ? He is with Pan Sapyeha. I saw 
myself how, after the treason of the prince, he threw his 
baton at his feet." 

" Oh, he is a worthy soldier ! " answered the king. " From 
Pan Sapyeha we have had news from Tykotsin, where he 
is besieging the voevoda. God give him luck ! If all 
were like him, the Swedish enemy would regret their 

Here Tyzenhauz, who had been listening to the con versa- 


tion, asked suddenly, "Then were you with Radzivill at 
Kyedani ? " 

Kmita was somewhat confused, and began to throw up 
his hatchet. " I was," answered he. 

" Give peace to your hatchet," said Tyzenhauz. " And 
what were you doing at the prince's house ? '' 

"I was a guest," answered Kniita, impatiently, "and 1 
tate his bread, until I was disgusted with his treason." 

" And why did you not go witli other honorable soldiers 
to Pan Sapyeha ? " • 

" Because I had made a vow to go to Chenstohova, which 
you will more easily understand when 1 tell you that our 
Ostra Brama was occupied by the Northerners." 

Tyzenhauz began to shake his head and smack his lips ; 
this attracted the attention of the king, so that he looked 
inquiringly at Kmita. The latter, made impatient, turned 
to Tyzenhauz and said, — 

" My worthy sir ! Why do I not inquire of you where 
you have been, and what you have been doing ? " 

" Ask me," replied Tyzenhauz ; " I have nothing to 

"Neither am I before a court ; and if I shall ever be, you 
will not be my judge. Leave me, then, that I lose not my 

When he had said this, he hurled the hatchet so sharply 
that it grew small in the height ; the king raised his eyes 
after it, and at that moment he was thinking of nothing 
save this, would Babinich catch it in its fall, or would he 
not catch it ? 

Babinich put spurs to his horse, sprang forward, and 
caught it. That same evening Tyzenhauz said to the 
king, — 

" Gracious Lord, this noble pleases me less and less." 

"But me more and more," answered the king, pursing his 

" T heard to-day one of his people call him colonel ; he 
only looked threateningly, and straightway confused the 
man. There is something in that." 

" And it seems to me sometimes that ho does not wish to 
tell everything," added the king; "but that is his affair." 

"No, Gracious Lord," exclaimed Tyzenhauz, forcibly, "it 
is not his affair, it is our affair, and that of the whole Com- 
monwealth. For if he is some traitor who is planning the 
death or captivity of youi* Royal Grace, then with your 


Ijfisoii will pL-iisli all those who at this inotnent have 
taken arms ; tho whole Com niou wealth will perish, which 
you alone ai-e roiujtetent to save." 

" I will ask him myself to-morrow." 

" God grant that I be a false prophet, but nothing good 
looks out of his eyes. He is too smart, too Ixild, too daring ; 
and s«i!li [«;oT)le are ready for anything." 

The king looked troubled. Next morning, when they 
moved (It) their journey, he beckoned Kmita to approach 

" A\'hei-e were you, Colonel ? " asked the kin^. suddenly. 

A moment of silence followed. 

Kmita struggled with himself ; the wish waa burning him 
to spring from his hnrse, fall at the feet of the king, and 
throw otf the buiilen he was Iw-aring, — tell the whole truth 
at OTice. But he thought of the fearful impression which 
the name Kmita would make, esiiecially after the letter 
of I'riiid' Boi^iislav Rady.ivill. How could he, who had 
l>een the liglit hand of Radzivill, who had maintained 
the prepondi'i-iince of Prince Yaniisli, who had aided him in 
sciitteritig his disohe<licnt squadrons, who supported hiiu in 
treason ; liow could he, iii-i-uscd and suspected of the most 
terrible crime, — an attai'k on the person of the king, — suc- 
ceed ill convincing the king, the bishops, and senators, that 
he h;i<I corrected himself, that he was transformed ? With 
what could he show the sincerity of liis intentions ? What 
[ii-oofs could he bring save naked w(uds ? His former of- 
fences pursue him nneeasiiifrly, unsiiarinjjly. a.s fiiriouR dogs 
a wild beast in the forest. lie iletermined on silence. But 
he felt also unspeakable disgust and hatrcil of subter'fuge. 
Must he throw dust in the eyes of the kinp, whom he loved 
with all the power of his soul, and deceive him with fictitious 

He felt that strength failed him for this; therefore he 
said, after a while: "Gracious King, the time will c-ome, per- 
haps soon, in which I shall open my whole soul toyour R^iyal 
Grace as in confession to a priest. But I wish deeds to 
vouch for me, for my sincere intention, for my loyalty and my 
love of majesty, not words simply. I have offended against 
you, my Gracious Lord, and the country, and 1 have reijented 
too little yet; therefore I am seeking service in which I 
can find reparation more easily. Besides, who has not of- 
fende<l ? Who in the whole Commonwealth does not need 
to beat his breast '/ It lasy foe that I have offended more 


grievously than others, but I was the first also to bethink 
myself. Do not inquire, Gracious Lord, about anything 
until the present service will convince you concerning 
me ; do not ask, for I cannot answer w^ithout closing 
the road of salvation to myself, for God is the witness, 
and the Most Holy Lady, our Queen, that I had no evil 
intent, that I am ready to give the last drop of my blood 
for you." 

Here Pan Andrei's eyes grew moist, and such sincerity and 
sorrow appeared on his face that his countenance defended 
him with greater power than his words. 

" God is looking at my intentions," said he, " and will ac- 
count them to me at judgment. But, Gracious Lord, if you 
do not trust me, dismiss me, remove me from your person. 
I will follow at a distance, so as to come in time of difficulty, 
even without being called, and lay down my life for you. And 
then. Gracious Lord, you will believe that I am not a traitor, 
but one of that kind of servants of whom you have not 
many, even among those who cast suspicion on others." 

"I believe you to-day," said the king. "Remain near 
our person as before, for treason does not speak in sucli 

"I thank your Royal Grace," answered Kmita; and rein- 
ing in his horse somewhat, he pushed back among the last 
ranks of the party. 

But Tyzenhauz did not limit himself to conveying sus- 
picions to the king. The result was that all began to look 
askance at Kmita. Audible conversation ceased at his ap- 
proach, and whispers began. Every movement of his was 
followed, every word considered. Kmita noticed this, and 
was ill at ease among these men. 

Even the king, though he did not remove confidence from 
him, had not for Pan Andrei such a joyful countenance as 
before. Therefore the young hero lost his daring, grew 
gloomy, sadness and bitterness took possession of his heart. 
Formerly in front, among the first, he used to make his horse 
prance ; now he dragged on many yards behind the caval- 
cade, with hanging head and gloomy thoughts. 

At last the Carpathians stood white before the travellers. 
Snow lay on their slopes, clouds spread their unwieldy 
bodies on the summits ; and when an evening came clear 
at sunset, those mountains put on flaming garments from 
which marvellously bright gleams went forth till quenched 
in the darkness embracing the whole world. Kmita gazed 


on those wonders of nature which to that time he had never 
seen ; and though greatly grieved, he forgot his cares from 
admiration and wonder. 

Each day those giants grew greater, more mighty, till at 
last the retinue of the king came to them and entered a pass 
which opened on a sudden, like a gate. 

" The boundary must be near," said the king, with emotion. 

Then they saw a small wagon, drawn by one horse, and 
in the wagon a peasant. The king's men stopped him at 

" Man," said Tyzenhauz, " are we in Poland ? " 

" Beyond that cliff and that little river is the emperor's 
boundary, but you are standing on the king's land." 

" Which way is it thtu to Jivyets ? " 

" Go straight ahead ; you will come to the road." And 
the mountaineer whipped his horse. 

Tyzenhauz galloped to the retinue standing at a distance. 

" Gracious Lord,'' eried he, with emotion, " you are now 
inter regno, for at that little river your kingdom begins." 

The king said nothing, only made a sign to hold his horse, 
dismounted, and throwing himself onlua knees, raised his 
eyes and his hands upward. 

At sight of this, all dismounted and followed his example. 
That king, then a wanderer, fell after a moment in the form 
of a cross on the snow, and began to kiss that land, so be- 
loved and so thaukless, which in time of disaster had re- 
fused refuge to his head. 

Silence followed, and only sighs interrupted it. 

The evening was frosty, clear ; the mountains and the 
summits of the neighboring tir-trees were in purple, far- 
ther off in the shadow they liad begun to put on violet ; 
but the road on wliich the king was lying turned as it were 
into a ruddy and golden ribbon, and rays fell on tfie king, 
bisliops, and dignitaries. 

Then a breeze began from the summits, and bearing on 
its wings sparks of snow, flew to the valley. Therefore 
the nearer fir-trees began to bend their snow-covered heads, 
bow to their lord, and to make a joyous and rustling sound, 
as if they wei-e singing that old song, " Be welcome to us, 
thou dear master ! " 

Darkness had already filled the air when the king's retinue 
moved forward. Beyond the defile was spread out a rather 
roomy plain, the other end of which was lost in the distance. 
Light was dying all around ; only in one place the sky was 


still bright with red. The king began to repeat Aue Maria; 
after him the others with concentration of spirit repeated the 
pious words. 

Their native land, unvisited by them for a long time ; the 
mountains which night was now covering ; the dying twi- 
light, the prayer. — all these caused a solemnity of heart 
and mind ; hence after the prayer the king, the dignitaries, 
and the knights rode on in silence. Night fell, but in the 
east the sky was shining still more redly. 

"Let us go toward that twilight," said the king, at last; 
" it is a wonder that it is shining yet." 

Then Kmita galloi)ed up. ** Gracious Lord, that is a fire ! " 
cried he. 

All halted. 

"How is that?" asked the king; "it seems to me that 
't is the twilight." 

" A fire, a fire ! I am not mistaken ! " cried Kmita. 

And indeed, of all of the attendants of the king he knew 
most in that matter. At last it was no longer possible to 
doubt, since above that supposed twilight were rising as it 
were red clouds, rolling now brighter, now darker in turn. 

" It is as if Jivyets were burning ! " cried the king ; 
" maybe the enemy is ravaging it." 

He had not finished speaking when to their ears flew the 
noise of men, the snorting of horses, and a number of dark 
figures appeared before the retinue. 

" Halt, halt ! " cried Tyzenhauz. 

These figures halted, as if uncertain what to do farther. 

" Who are you ? " was asked from tlie retinue. 

" Ours ! " said a number of voices. " Ours ! We are es- 
caping with our lives from Jivyets. The Swedes are burn- 
ing Jivyets, and murdering people." 

" Stop, in God's name ! AVhat do you say ? Whence 
have they come?" 

" They were waiting for our king. There is a power of 
them, a power ! ]\ray the Mother of God have the king in 
Her keeping ! " 

Tyzenhauz lost his head for a moment. " See what it is 
to go with a small party ! " cried he to Kmita ; " would that 
you were killed for such counsel ! " 

Yan Kazimir began to inquire himself of the fugitives. 
" But where is the king ? " 

" The king has gone to the mountains with a great army. 
Two days ago he passed through Jivyets ; they pursued him, 


and were fighting somewhere near Suha. We have not heard 
whether they took him or not ; but to-day they returned to 
Jivyets, and are burning: and murdering.'' 

'* Go with God ! " said Yan Kazimir. 

The fugitives shot past quickl}'. 

" See wliat would have met us had we gone with tlie 
dragoons I " exclaimed Kmita. 

"Gracious King!" said Father Gembitski, "the enemy 
is before iw. Wliat are we to do ? " 

All surrounded the monarch, as if wishing to protect him 
with their persons from sudden danger. The king gazed 
on that fire which was reflected in his eyes, and he was 
silent; no one advanced an opinion, so difficult was it to 
give good advice. 

" When I was going out of the country a fire lighted 
me/' said Yau Kazimir, at last ; " and when I enter, another 
gives light." 

Again silence, only still longer than before. 

" Who has any advice ? " inquired Father Gembitski, 
at last. 

Then the voice of Tyzenhauz was heard, full of bitterness, 
and insult : " He who did not hesitate to expose the king's 
person to danger, who said that the king should go without 
a guard, let him now give advice.'' 

At this moment a horseman jmslied out of the circle. 
It was Kmita. 

"Very well!" said he. And rising in the stirrups he 
shouted, turninji; to his attendants standing at some dis- 
tance, " Kyemliches, after me ! " 

Then he urged his horse to a gallop, and after him shot 
the three horsemen with all the breath that was in the 
breasts of their horses. 

A cry of despair came from Tyzenhauz : " That is a con- 
spiracy !" said he. "These traitors will give ns uj) surely. 
Gracious King, save yourself while there is time, for the 
enemy will soon close the pass ! Gracious King, save 
yourself! Back! back!" 

" Let us return, let us return ! " cried the bishops and 
dignitaries, in one voice. 

Yan Kazimir became impatient, lightnings flashed from 
his eyes ; suddenly he drew his sword from its sheath and 
cried, — 

" May God not grant me to leave my country a second 
time. Come what may, I have had enough of that ! " And 


he put spurs to his horse to move forward ; but the nuncio 
himself seized the reins. 

"Your Royal Grace," said he, seriously, "you bear on 
your shoulders the fate of the Catholic Churcli and the 
country, therefore you are not free to expose your person.'' 

" Not free," repeated the bishops. 

"I will not return to Silesia, so help me the Holy 
Cross ! " answered Yan Kazimir. 

"Gracious Lord ! listen to the prayers of your subjects," 
said the castellan of Sandomir. " If you do not wish to 
return to the emperor's territory, let us go at least from 
this place and turn toward the Hungarian boundary, or let 
us go back through this pass, so that our retui-n be not in- 
tercepted. There we will wait. In ease of an attack by 
the enemy, escape on horses will remain to us ; but at least 
let them not enclose us as in a trap." 

"Let it be even so," said the king. "I do not reject 
prudent counsel, but I will not go wandering a second 
time. If we cannot appear by this road, we will by 
another. But I think that you are alarmed in vain. 
Since the Swedes looked for us among the dragoons, as the 
people from Jivyets said, it is clear proof that they know 
nothing of us, and that there is no treason or conspiracy. 
Just consider; you are men of experience. The Swedes 
would not have attacked the dragoons, they would not have 
fired a gun at them if they knew that we were following 
them. Be calm, gentlemen! Babinich has gone with his 
men for news, and he will return soon of a certainty." 

AVhen he harl said this the king turned his horse toward 
the pass; after him his attendants. They halted on the 
spot where the first mountaineer had shown them the 

A quarter of an hour passed, then a half-hour and 
an hour. 

" Have you noticed, gentlemen," asked the voevoda of 
Lenchytsk on a sudden, "that the fire is decreasing ? " 

" It is going out, going out ; you can almost see it die," 
said a number of voices. 

" That is a good sign," said the king. 

"I will go ahead with a few men," said Tyzenhauz. 
"We will halt about a furlong from here, and if the 
Swedes come we will detain them till we die. In every 
case there will be time to think of the safety of the king's 


" Remain with the party ; I forbid you to go ! " said the 

To which Tyzenhauz answered, — 

" Gracious Lord, give command later to shoot me for dis- 
obedience, but now I will go, for now it is a question 
of you.'' And calling upon a number of soldiers in whom 
it was possible to trust in every emergency, he moved 

They halted at the other end of the defile which opened 
into the valley, and stood in silence, with muskets ready, 
holding their ears toward every sound. The silence lasted 
long; finally the sound of snow trampled by horses' feet 
came to them. 

" They are coming ! " whispered one of the soldiers. 

" That is no party ; only a few horses are to be heard," 
answered the other. " Pan Babinich is returning." 

Meanwhile those approaching came in the darkness 
within a few tens of yards. 

" Who is there ? " cried Tyzenhauz. 

" Ours ! Do not fire there ! " sounded the voice of 

At that moment he appeared before Tyzenhauz, and not 
knowing him in the darkness, inquired, — 

" But where is the king ? " 

" At the end of the pass." 

" Who is speaking, for I cannot see ? " 

" Tyzenhauz. But what is that great bundle which you 
have before you?" And he pointed to some dark form 
hanging before Kmita, on the front of the saddle. 

Pan Andrei made no answer, but rode on. When he had 
reached the king's escort, he recognized the person of the 
king, for it was much clearer beyond the pass, and cried, — 

" Gracious Lord, the road is open ! " 

" Are there no Swedes in Jivyets ? " 

"They have gone to Vadovitsi. That was a party 
of German mercenaries. But here is one of them. Gracious 
Lord; ask him yourself." And ]*an Andrei pushed to the 
ground that form which he held before him, so that a groan 
was heard in the still night. 

"Who is that ? " asked the astonished king. 

" A horseman ! " 

" As God is dear to me ! And you have brought an 
informant ! How is that ? Tell me." 

" Gracious Lord, when a wolf prowls in the night around a 


flock of sheep it is easy for him to seize one ; and besides, 
to tell the truth, this is not the first timp with me." 

The king raised his hands. ^'But this Babinich is a 
soldier, may the bullets strike him ! I see that with such 
servants I can go even in the midst of Swedes." 

Meanwhile all gathered around the horseman, who did 
not rise from the ground however. 

" Ask him. Gracious Lord," said Kmita, not without a 
certain boastf ulness in his voice ; " though I do not know 
whether he will answer, for he is throttled a little and 
there is nothing here to burn him with." 

"Pour some gorailka into his throat," said the king. 

And indeed that medicine helped more than burning, for 
the horseman soon recovered strength and voice. Then 
Kmita, putting a sword-point to his throat, commanded him 
to tell the whole truth. 

The prisoner confessed that he belonged to the regiment 
of Colonel Irlehorn, that they had intelligence of the passage 
of the king with dragoons, therefore they fell upon them 
near Suha, but meeting firm resistance they had to with- 
draw to Jivyets, whence they marched on to Vadovitsi and 
Cracow, for such were their orders. 

" Are there other divisions of the Swedes in the moun- 
tains ? " asked Kmita in German, while squeezing the 
throat of the horseman somewhat more vigorously. 

" Maybe there are some," answered he in a broken voice. 
" General Douglas sent scouting-parties around, but they 
are all withdrawing, for the peasants are attacking them 
in passes." 

" Were you the only ones in the neighborhood of Jivyets ? " 

" The only ones." 

" Do you know that the King of Poland has passed ? " 

" He passed with those dragoons who fought with us at 
Suha. Many saw him." 

" Why did you not pursue him ? " 

" We were afraid of the mountaineers." 

Here Kmita began again in Polish : " Gracious Lord, 
the road is open and you will find a night's lodging in 
Jivyets, for only a part of the place is burned." 

But unconfiding Tyzenhauz was speaking at this time 
with the castellan of Yoinik, and said : " Either that is a 
great warrior and true as gold, or a finished traitor. Con- 
sider, your worthiness, that all this may be simulated, from 
the taking of this horseman to his confederates. And if 


this is a trick, — if the Swedes are in ambush in Jivyets, — 
if the king goes and falls as into a net ? " 

*'It is safer to convince one's self," answered the cas- 
tellan of Voinik. 

Then Tyzenhauz turned to the king and said aloud : 
*^ Gracious Lord, permit me to go aliead to Jivyets and 
<3onvince myself that what this cavalier says and what this 
trooper declares is true." 

" Let it be so ! Permit them to go, Gracious Lord," said 

*^ GrO," said the king ; " but we will move forward a little, 
for it is cold." 

Tyzenhauz rushed on at all speed, and the escort of the 
king began to move after him slowly. The king regained 
his good humor and cheerfulness, and after a while said to 
Kmita, — 

" But with you it is possible to hunt Swedes as birds with 
a falcon, for you strike from above." 

"That is my fashion," said Kmita. "Whenever your 
Royal Grace wishes to hunt, the falcon will always be 

" Tell how you caught him." 

" That is not difficult. When a regiment marches there 
are always a few men who lag in the rear, and I got this 
one about half a furlong behind. I rode up to him; he 
thought that I was one of his own people, he was not on his 
guard, and before he could think I had seized and gagged 
him so that he could not shout." 

"You said that this was not y^ur first time. Have you 
then practised somewhere before ? " 

Kmita laughed. " Oh, Gracious Lord, I have, and that of 
the best. Let your Royal Grace but give the order and I will 
go again, overtake them, for their horses are road-weary, 
take another man, and order my Kyemliches to take also." 

They advanced some time in silence ; then tlie traiup of a 
horse was heard, and Tyzenhauz flew up. " Gracious King," 
said he, " the road is free, and lodgings are ready." 

"But did not I say so?" cried Yan Kazimir. "You, 
gentlemen, had no need to be anxious. Let us ride on now, 
let us ride, for we have earned our rest." 

All advanced at a trot, briskly, joyously ; and an hour 
later the wearied king was sleeping a sleep without care 
on his own territory. 

That evening Tyzenhauz approached Kmita. "Forgive 



me," said he ; " out of love for the king I brought you under 

I£mita refused his hand and said : ^^ Oh, that cannot be ! 
You made me a traitor and a betrayer." 

" I would have done more, for I would have shot you in 
the head; but since I have convinced myself that you are an 
honest man and love the king, I stretch out my hand to you. 
If you wish, take it; if not, take it not. 1 would prefer 
to have no rivalry with you save that of attachment to the 
king; but I am not afraid of other rivalry." 

" Is that your thought ? H'm ! perhaps you are right, but 
I am angry with you." 

" Well, stop being angry. You are a strong soldier. But 
give us your lips, so that we may not lie down to sleep in 

" Let it be so 1 " said Kmita. 

And they fell into each other's arms. 



The kiug's party arrived at Jivyeta late in the evening, 
and paid almost no attention to the place, which was terri- 
fied by the recent attack of the Swedish detachment. The 
king did not go to the castle, which had been ravaged by 
the enemy and burned in part, but stopped at the priest a 
house. Kmita spread the news that the party was escorting 
the ambassador of the emperor, who was going from Silesia 
to Cracow. 

Next morning they held on toward Vadovitsi, and 
then turned considerably to one side toward Suha. From 
this place they were to pass through Kjechoui to Yorda- 
novo, thence to Xovy Targ, and if it appeared that there 
were no Swedish parties near Chorshtyn to go to Cborahtyn ; 
if there were, they were to turn towanl Hungary and advance 
on Hungarian soil to Lyubovlya, The king hoped, too, that 
the marshal of tlie kingdom, who disjKised of forces so con- 
siderable that no reigning prince had so many, would make 
the road safe and hasten forth to meet his sovereign. Only 
this could prevent, that the marshal knew not which road 
the king would take; but among the mountaineers there 
was no lack of trusty men ready to bear word to the mar- 
shal. There was no need even of confiding the secret tn 
them, for they went willingly when told that it was a ques- 
tion of serving the king. These peoi)le, though poor and 
halt wild, tilting little or not at all an ungrateful soil, living 
by their herds, pious, and hating heretics, were, in truth, 
given heart and sonl to the sovereign. They were the firs'-, 
to seize their axes and move from the mountains when news 
of the taking of Cracow spread through the country, and 
especially when news came of the siege of Chenstohova, to 
which pious women wore accustomed to go on pilgrimages. 
General Douglas, a well-known warrior, furnished with can- 
non and muskets, scattered them, it is true, on the plains, 
to which they were not accustomed ; but the Swedes only 
with the greatest caution entered their s|>ecial districts, in 
which it was not easy to reach them, and easy to Buffer dis- 


aster, — so that some smaller divisions, having needlessly 
entered this labyrinth of mountains, were lost. 

And now news of the king's passage with an army had 
already done its own, for all had si)rung up as one man to 
defend him and accompany him with their axes, even 
to the end of the world. Yan Kazimir might, if he had 
only disclosed who he was, have surrounded himself in a 
short time with thousands of half -wild " householders ; " but 
he thought justly that in such an event the news would be 
carried about everywhere by all the whirlwinds through the 
whole region, and that the Swedes might send out numerous 
troops to meet him, therefore he chose to travel unknown 
even to the mountaineers. 

But in all places trusty guides were found, to whom it 
was enough to say that they were conducting bishops and 
lords who desired to preserve themselves from Swedish 
hands. They were led, therefore, among snows, cliffs, and 
whirlwinds, and over places so inaccessible that you would 
have said : " A bird cannot fly through them.'' 

More than once the king and the dignitaries had clouds 
below them, and when there were not clouds their glances 
passed over a shoreless expanse, covered with white 
snows, an expanse seemingly as wide as the whole coun- 
try was wide ; more than once they entered mountain 
throats, almost dark, covered with snow, in which perhaps 
only a wild beast might have its lair. But they avoided 
places accessible to the enemy, shortening the road ; and it 
happened that a settlement, at which they expected to arrive 
in half a day, appeared suddenly under their feet, and in it 
they awaited rest and hospitality, though in a smoky hut 
and a sooty room. 

The king was in continual good humor ; he gave courage to 
others to endure the excessive toil, and he guaranteed that 
by such roads they would surely reach Lyubovlya as safely 
as unexpectedly. 

"The marshal does not expect that we shall fall on his 
shoulders ! '^ re])eate(l the king, frequently 

" What was the return of Xenophon to our journey among 
the clouds ? " asked the nuncio. 

"The higher we rise, the lower will Swedish fortune fall,'' 
answered the king. 

They arrived at Novy Targ. It seemed that all danger 
was passed ; still the mountaineers declared that Swedish 
troops were moving about near Chorshtyn and in the 


neighborhood. The king supposed that they might be 
the marshal's German cavalry, of which he had two regi- 
ments, or they might be his own dragoons sent in advance 
and mistaken for the enemy's scouts. Since in Chorshtyn 
the bishop of Cracow had a garrison, opinions were divided 
in the royal party. Some wished to go by the road to 
Chorshtyn, and then pass along the boundary to Spij ; 
others advised to turn straight to Hungary, which came 
up in wedge-form to Novy Targ, and go over heights and 
through passes, taking guides everywhere who knew the 
most dangerous places. 

This last opinion prevailed, for in that way meeting 
with the Swedes became almost impossible ; and besides 
this " eagle '' road over the precipices and through the 
clouds gave pleasure to the king. 

They passed then from Novy Targ somewhat to the 
south and west, on the right hand of the Byaly Dunayets. 
The road at first lay through a region rather open and 
spacious, but as they advanced the mountains began to 
run together and the valleys to contract. They went along 
roads over which horses could barely advance. At times 
the riders had to dismount and lead ; and more than once 
the beasts resisted, [)ointing their ears and stretching their 
distended and steaming nostrils forward toward precipices, 
from the depths of which death seemed to gaze upward. 

The mountaineers, accustomed to precipices, frequently 
considered roads good on which the heads of unaccustomed 
men turned and their ears rang. At last they entered a 
kind of rocky chasm long, straight, and so narrow that three 
men could barely ride abreast in it. Two cliffs bounded it 
on the right side and the left. At places however the 
edges inclined, forming slopes less steep, covered with 
piles of snow bordered on the edges with dark pine-trees. 
Winds blew away the snow immediately from the bottom 
of the pass, and the hoofs of horses gritted everywhere on 
a stony road. But at that moment the wind was not blow- 
ing, and such silence reigned that there was a ringing in 
the ears. Above where between the woody edges a blue belt 
of sky wiis visible, black flocks of birds flew past from time 
to time, shaking their wings and screaming. 

The king's party halted for rest. Clouds of steam rose 
from the horses, and the men too were tired. 

" Is this Poland or Hungary ? " inquired, after a time, 
the king of a guide. 


"This is Poland." 

** But why do we not turn directly to Hungary ? " 

" Because it is impossible. At some distance this pass 
turns, beyond the turn is a cliff, beyond that we come out 
on the high-road, turn, then go through one more pass, and 
there the Hungarian country begins." 

'* Then I see it would have been better to go by the high- 
way at first," said the king. 

" Quiet ! " cried the mountaineer, quickly. And spring- 
ing to the cliff he put his ear to it. 

All fixed their eyes on him ; his face changed in a moment, 
and he said : ** Beyond the turn troops are coming from the 
water-fall ! For God's sake ! Are they not Swedes ? " 

" Where ? How ? What ? " men began to ask on every 
side. *' We hear nothing." 

" No, for snow is lying on the sides. By God's wounds, 
they are near ! they will be here straightway ! " 

" Maybe they are the marshal's troops," said the king. 

In one moment Kmita urged his horse forward. " 1 will 
go and see ! " said he. 

The Kyemliches moved that instant after him, like hunt- 
ing-dogs in a chase ; but barely had they stirred from their 
places when the turn of the pass, about a hundred yards 
distant, was made black by men and horses. Kmita looked 
at them, and the soul quivered within him from terror. 

Swedes were advancing. 

They were so near that it was impossible to retreat, es- 
pecially since the king's party had wearied horses. It only 
remained to break through, to perish, or to go into captivity. 
The unterrified king understood this in a flash ; therefore 
he seized the hilt of his sword. 

" Cover the king and retreat I " cried Kmita. 

Tyzenhauz with twenty men pushed forward in the twin- 
kle of an eye ; but Kmita instead of joining them moved on 
at a sharp trot against the Swedes. 

He wore the Swedish dress, the same in which he dis- 
guised himself when going out from the cloister. Seeing a 
horseman coming toward them in such a dresf?, the Swedes 
thought ]^erhaps this was some party of their own belonging 
to the King of Sweden ; they did not hasten their pace, but 
the captain commanding pushed out beyond the first three. 

" What people are you ? " asked he in Swedish, look- 
ing at the threatening and pale face of the young man 


Emit» rode ui) to him so closely that their knees almost 
touched, and without speaking a word fired from a pistol 
directly into his ear. 

A shout of terror was rent from the breasts of the Swed- 
ish cavalry; but still louder thundered the voice of Pan 
Andrei, "Strike I" 

And like a rock torn from a cliff rolling down, crushing 
everything in its course, so did he fall on the ^rst rank, 
bearing tleath and destruction. The two young Kyemliches, 
like two bears, spang after him into the whirl, The clatter 
uf sabres on mail and helmets was heard, like the sound of 
hammers, and was followed straightway by outcries and 

It seemed at the first moment to the astonished Swedes 
that three giants had fallen upon them in that wild moun- 
tain pass. The tirst three pushed back confused in the 
presence of the terrible man, and when the succeeding ones 
had extricated themselves from behind the bend of the 
pass, those in the rear were thrown back and confused. 
The horses fell to biting and kicking. The soldiers in the 
remoter ranks were not able to shoot, nor come to the assist- 
ance of those in front, who perished without aid under the 
blows of the three giants. In vain did they fnlt, in vain 
did they present their weapon points; here sabres were 
breaking, there men and horses fell. Kmita urged hi^ 
horse till his hoofs were hanging above the heads of the 
steeds of his opponents ; he was raging himself, cutting and 
thrusting. The blood rushed to his face, and from his eyes 
fire flashed. All thoughts were quenched in him save one, — 
he might perish, but he must detain the Swe<les. That 
thought turned in him to a species of wild ecstasy ; there- 
fore his powers were trebled, his movements became like 
those of a leopard, mad, and swift as lightning. With 
blows of his sabre, which were blows beyond human, be 
crushed men as a thunderbolt crushes young trees j the 
twin Kyemliches followed, and the old man, standing a 
trifle in the rear, thrust his rapier out every moment be- 
tween his sons, as a serpent thrusts out its bloody 

Meanwhile around the king there rose confusion. The 
nuncio, as at Jivyets, seized the reins of his horse, aud on 
the other side the bishop of Cracow pulled hack the steed 
with all his force ; but the king spurred him till he stood oa 
his hind legs. 


" Let me go ! " cried the king. " As God lives ! We 
shall pass through the enemy 1 " 

" My Lord, think of the country ! *' cried the bishop of 

The king was unable to tear himself from their hands, 
especially since young Tyzenhauz with all his men closed 
the road. Tyzenhauz did not go to help Kmita; he sacri 
liced him, he wanted only to save the king. 

** By the passion of our Lord ! " cried he, in despair, 
" those men will perish immediately ! Gracious Lord, save 
yourself while there is time ! I will hold them here yet 
awhile ! " 

But the stubbornness of the king when once roused reck- 
oned with nothing and no man. Yan Kazimir spurred his 
horse still more violently, and instead of retreating pushed 

But time passed, and each moment might bring with it 
final destruction. 

" I will die on my own soil ! Let me go ! " cried the 

Fortunately, against Kmita and the Kyemliches, by rea- 
son of the narrowness of the pass, only a small number of 
men could act at once, consequently they were able to hold 
out long. But gradually even their iK)wers began to be ex- 
hausted. A number of times the rapiers of the Swedes 
had struck Kmita's body, and his blood began to flow. His 
eyes were veiled as it were by a mist. The breath halted 
in his breast. He felt the approach of death ; therefore he 
wanted only to sell his life dearly. *' Even one more ! " 
repeated he to himself, and he sent down his steel blade on 
the head or the shoulder of the nearest horseman, and again 
he turned to another ; but evidently the Swedes felt 
ashamed, after the first moment of confusion and fear, that 
four men were able to detain them, so long, and they 
crowded forward with fury; soon the very weight of men 
and horses drove back the four men, and eat*h moment more 
swiftly and strongly. 

With that Kmita's horse fell, and the torrent covered the 

The Kyemliches struggled still for a time, like swimmers 
who seeing that they are drowning make efforts to keep their 
heads above the whirl of the sea, but soon they also fell. 
Then the Swedes moved on like a whirlwind toward the 
party of the king. 


Tyzenhaiiz with his men sprang against them, and struck 
them in sucli fashion that the sound was heard through the 

But what could that handful of men, led by Tyzenhauz, 
do against a detachment of nearly three hundred strong? 

There was no doubt that for the king and his party the 
fatal hour of death or captivity must come. 

Van Kazimir, preferring evidently the first to the second, 
Ireed tinally the reins from the hands of the bishops, and 
[)ushed forward quickly toward Tyzenhauz. In an instant 
he halted as if fixed to the earth. 

Somethinf< uncommon had happened. To spectators it 
seemed as though the mountains themselves were coming 
to the aid of the rightful king. 

Behold on a sudden the edges of the pass quivered as if 
the earth were moving from its foundations, as if the pines 
on the mountain desired to take part in the battle ; and logs 
of wood, blocks of snow and ice, stones, fragments of cliffs, 
began to roll down with a terrible crash and roar on the 
ranks of the Swedes crowded in the pass. At the same time 
an unearthly howl was iieard on each side of the narrow 

Below in the ranks began seething which passed human 
belief. It seemed to the Swedes that the mountains were 
falling and covering them. Shouts rose, the lamentations 
of crushed men, despairing cries for assistance, the whining 
of horses, the bite and terrible sound of fragments of cliflt's 
on armor. 

At last men and horses formed one mass quivering con- 
vulsively, crushed, groaning, despairing, and dreadful. But 
the stones and pieces of cliffs ground them continually, roll- 
ing without mercy on the now formless masses, the bodies of 
horses and men. 

*' The mountaineers ! the mountaineers ! ** shouted men 
in the retinue of the king. 

*' With axes at the dog-brothers ! " called voices from the 

And that very moment from both rocky edges appeared 
long-haired heads, covered with round fur cai»s, and after 
them came out l)odies, and several hundred strange forms 
began to let themselves down on the slopes of the snow. 

Dark and white rags floating above their shoulders gave 
them the appearance of some kind of a^vful birds of prey. 
They pushed down in the twinkle of au eye ; the sound of 


their axes emphasized their wild ominous shouting and the 
groans of the Swedes. 

The king himself tried to restrain the slaughter ; some 
horsemen, still living, threw themselves on their knees, and 
raising their defenceless hands, begged for their lives. 
Nothing availed, nothing could stiiy the vengeful axes. A 
quarter of an hour later there was not one man living 
among the Swedes in the pass. 

After that the bloody mountaineers began to hurry 
toward the escort of the king. 

The nuncio looked with astonishment on those people, 
strange to him, large, sturdy, covered partly with sheep- 
skin, sprinkled with blood, and shaking their still steaming 

But at sight of the bishops they uncovered their heads. 
Many of them fell on their knees in the snow. 

The bishop of Cracow raising his tearful face toward 
heaven said, " Behold the assistance of God, behold Provi- 
dence, which watehes over the majesty of the king." Then 
turning to the mountaineers, he asked, ** Men, who are 
you ? '' 

** We are of this place," answered voices from the crowd. 

" Do you know whom you have come to assist ? This is 
your king and your lord, whom you have saved." 

At these words a shout rose in the crowd. " The king ! 
the king ! Jesus, Mary ! the king ! " And the joyful moun- 
taineers began to throng and crowd around Yan Kazimir. 
With weeping they fell to him from every side ; with weep- 
ing, they kissed his feet, his stirrups, even the hoofs of his 
horse. Such excitement reigned, such shouting, such weep- 
ing that the bishops from fear for the king's person were 
forced to restrain the excessive enthusiasm. 

And the king was in the midst of a faithful people, like 
a shepherd among sheep, and great tears were flowing down 
his face. Then his countenance became bright, as if some 
sudden change had taken place in his soul, as if a new, 
great thought from heaven by birth had flashed into his 
mind, and he indicated with his hand that he wished to 
speak; and when there was silence he said with a voice so 
loud that the whole multitude heard him, — 

" God, Thou who hast saved me by the hands of simple 
people, I swear by the suffering and death of Thy Son to be 
a father to them from this moment forward." 

<* Amen ! " responded the bishops. 


For a certain time a solemn silence reigned, then a new 
burst of joy. They inquired of the mountaineers whence 
they had come into the passes, and in what way they had 
appeared to rescue the king. It turned out that consider- 
able parties of Swedes had been wandering about Chorsh- 
tyn, and, not capturing the castle itself, they seemed to seek 
some one and to wait. The mountaineers too had heard of 
a battle which those parties had delivered against troops 
among whom it was said that the king himself was advanc- 
ing. Then they determined to push the Swedes into an 
ambush, and sending to them deceitful guides, they lured 
them mto the pass. 

"We saw," said the mountaineers, "how those four 
horsemen attacked those dogs; we wanted to assist the four 
horsemen, but were afraid to fall upon the dog-brothers too 
soon ! " 

Here the king seized his head. " Mother of Thy only 
Son ! " cried he, " find Babinich for me ! Let us give him 
at least a funeral ! And he is the man who was considered 
a traitor, the one who first shed his own blood for us." 

*• It was I who accused him. Gracious Lord!" said 

" Find him, find him ! " cried the king. " I will not leave 
here till I look upon his face and put my blessing on him." 

The soldiers and the mountaineers sprang to the place of 
the first struggle, and soon they removed from the pile of 
dead horses and men Pan Andrei. His face was pale, all 
bespattered with blood, which was hanging in large stiffened 
drops on his mustaches ; his eyes were closed ; his armor 
was bent from the blows of swords and horses' hoofs. But 
that armor had saved him from being crushed, and to the 
soldier who raised him it seemed as though he heard a low 

" As God is true, he is alive ! " cried he. 

" Remove his armor," called others. 

They cut the straps quickly. Kmita breathed more 

" He is breathing, he is breathing I He is alive ! " re- 
peated a number of voices. 

But he lay a certain time motionless; then he opened his 
eyes. At that time one of the soldiers poured a little go- 
railka into his mouth ; others raised him by the armpits. 

Now the king, to whose hearing the cry repeated by sev- 
eral voices had come, rode up in haste. The soldiers drew 

VOL. u. — 1 1 



into his presence Pan Andrei, who was hanging on them 
and slipping from their hands to the ground. Still, at sight 
of the king consciousness returned to him lor a moment, a 
smile almost childlike lighted his face, and his pale lips 
whispered clearly, — 

«* My lord, my king, is alive — is free." And tears shone 
on his eyelashes. 

•* Babinich, Babinich ! with what can I reward you ? " 
cried the king. 

** I am not Babinich ; I am Kmita ! " whispered the knight. 

When he had said this he hung like a corpse in the arms 
of the soldiers. 



SiHCE the mountaineers gave sure information that on 
the road to Chorshtyn there was nothing to be heard of 
other Swedish parties, the retinue of the king turned toward 
the castle, and soon found themselves on the highway, along 
which the journey was easiest and least tiresome. They 
ro<le on araid songs of the mountaineers and shouts, "Thfl 
king is coming ! The king is coming ! " and along the road 
new crowds of men joined them, armed with flails, acj-thes, 
forks, and guns, so that Van Kazimir was soon at the head 
of a considerable division of men, not trained, it is true, but 
ready at any moment to go with him even to Cracow and 
spill their blood for their .lovereign. Near Chorslityn more 
than a tlioiisand " householders " and half-wild shepherds 
surrounded the king. 

Tlien nol)le3 from Novy Ranch and Stary Sanch began 
to eome in. They said that a J'olish regiment, under com- 
mand of Voyniliovioh, luul defeated, tiiat morning, just be- 
fore the town of Novy Sancli, a considerable detachment of 
Swedes, of which almost all tlip men were either slain, or 
drowned in the Kainyemui or Ihniayets. 

Tliis turned out to lie really the fact, when soon after on 
the road banners began to gleam, iiiid V'oynillovich himself 
came up with the regiment of the voevoda of Bratslav. 

The king greeted with joy a celebrated and to him well- 
knoiiTi knight, aud amidst the universal enthusiasm of the 
[leople and the army, be ro-le mi tflwani Hpij. Meanwhile 
men on horselmck rushed witli all breath to forewarn the 
marshal t.hat the king was upiiroaching, and to l>e ready to 
receive him. 

Joj'ous and noi.w was the contiiniatton of the journey. 
New crowds were adiled pontiiuially. The nuncio, who liail 
left Silesia filled with fear for tliR king's fate and his own. 
and for whom the l)eginning of the journey bad increased 
this fear, was beside himself now with delight, for he was 
certain that the future would surely bring victory to the 
king, and besides to the church over heretics. The bishops 
■ki^ed his joy ; the lay dignitaries asserted that the whole 


people, from the Carpathians to the Baltic, would grasp 
their wea^jons as these crowds had done. Voynillovich 
stated that for the greater part tliis had taken place al- 
ready. And he told what was to be heard in the country, 
what a terror had fallen upon the Swedes, how they dared 
go no longer outside fortifications in small numbers, how 
they were leaving the smaller castles, which they burned, 
and taking refuge in the strongest. 

" The Polish troops are beating their breasts with one 
hand, and are beginning to beat the Swedes with the other," 
said he. " Vilchkovski, who commands the hussar regiment 
of your Royal Grace, has already thanked the Swedes for 
their service, and that in such fashion that he fell upon 
them at Zakjevo, under the command of Colonel Altenberg, 
and slew a large number, — destroyed almost all. I, with 
the assistance of God, drove them out of Xovy Sanch, and 
God gave a noted victory. 1 do not know whether one es- 
caped alive. Pan Felitsyan Kohovski with the infantry of 
Navoi helped me greatly, and so they received pay for those 
dragoons at least whom they attacked two or three days ago." 

" What dragoons ? " asked the king. 

" Those whom your Royal Grace sent ahead from Silesia. 
The Swedes fell on these suddenly, and though not able to 
disperse them, for they defended themselves desperately, 
they inflicted considerable loss. And we were almost dying 
of despair, for we thought that your Royal Grace was among 
those men in your own person, and we feared lest some evil 
might happen to majesty. God inspired your Royal Grace 
to send the dragoons ahead. The Swedes heard of it at once, 
and occupied the roads everywhere." 

" Do you hear, Tyzenhauz ? " asked the king. " An ex- 
perienced soldier is talking." 

" I hear, Gracious Lord," answered the young magnate. 

" And what further, what further ? Tell on I " said the 
king, turning to Voynillovich. 

"What I know I shall surely not hide. Jegotski and 
Kulesha are active in Great Poland ; Varshytski has driven 
Lindorm from the castle of Pilets ; DankofF is defending it- 
self; Lantskoron is in our hands; and in Podlyasye, Sa- 
pyeha is gaining every day at Tykotsin. The SVedes are 
in greater straits in the castle, and with them is failing 
the prince voevoda of Vilna. As to the hetmans, they have 
moved already from Sandomir to Lyubelsk, showing clearly 
that they are breaking with the enemy. The voevoda of 


Chernigov is with them, and from the region about is 
marching to them every living man who can hold a sabre 
in his hand. They say, too, that there is some kind of fed- 
eration to be formed there against the Swedes, in which is 
the hand of Sapyeha as well as that of Stefan Charnyetski." 

" Is Charuyetski now in Lyubelsk ? " 

" He is, your Royal Grace. But he is hero to-day and 
there to-morrow. I have to join him, but where to find 
him I know not." 

" There will be noise around him," said the king ; " you 
will not need to inquire." 

" So I think too," answered Voynillovich. 

In such conversation was the road passed. Meanwhile 
the sky had grown perfectly clear, so that the azure was 
unspotted by even a small cloud. The snow was glittering 
in the sunlight. The mountains of Spij were extended 
gloriously and joyously before the travellers, and Nature it- 
self seemed to smile on the king. 

" Dear country ! " said Yan Kazimir, " God grant me 
strength to bring thee peace before my bones rest in thy 

They rode out on a lofty eminence, from which the view 
was open and wide, for beyond, at the foot of it, was spread 
a broad plain. There they saw below, and at a great dis- 
tance as it were, the movement of a human ant-hill. 

" The troops of the marshal ! " cried Voynillovich. 

" Unless they are Swedes," said the king. 

" No, Gracious Lord ! The Swedes could not march from 
Hungary, from the south. I see now the hussar flag." 

In fact a forest of spears soon pushed out in the blue dis- 
tance, and colored streamers were quivering like flowers 
moved by the wind ; above these flags spear-points were 
glittering like little flames. The sun played on the armor 
and helmets. 

The throngs of people accompanying the king gave forth 
a joyous shout, which was heard at a distance, for the mass 
of horses, riders, flags, horse-tail standards, and ensigns be- 
gan to move more quickly. Evidently they were moving 
with all speed, for the regiments became each moment more 
definite, and increased in the eye with incomprehensible 

" Let us stay on this height. We will await the marshal 
here," said the king. 

The retinue halted ; the men coming toward them moved 


still more rapidly. At moments they were concealed from 
the eye by turns of the road, or small hills and clifiEs, scat- 
tered along the plain ; but soon they appeared again, like a 
serpent with a skin of splendid colors playing most beauti 
fully. At last they came within a quarter of a mile of the 
height, and slackened their speed. The eye could take them 
in i>erfectly, and gain pleasure from them. First advanced 
the hussar squadron of the marshal himself, well armored, 
and so imposing that any king might be proud of such troops. 
Only nobles of the mountains served in this squadron, 
chosen men of equal size ; their armor was of bright squares 
inlaid with bronze, gorgets with the image of the Most Holy 
Lady of Chenstohova, round helmets with steel rims, crests 
on the top, and at the side wings of eagles and vultures, on 
their shoulders tiger and leopard skins, but on the officers 
wolf skins, according to custom. 

A forest of green and black streamers waved above them. 
In front rode Lieutenant Victor ; after him a janissary band 
Avith bells, trumpets, drums, and pipes ; then a wall of the 
breasts of horses and men clothed in iron. 

The king's heart opened at that lordly sight. Next to 
the hussars came a light regiment still more numerous, with 
drawn sabres in their hands and bows at their shoulders ; 
then three companies of Cossacks, in colors like blooming 
poppies, armed with spears and muskets ; next two hundred 
dragoons in red jackets ; then escorts belonging to different 
j)ersonages visiting at Lyubovlya, attendants dressed as if 
for a wedding, guards, haiduks, grooms, Hungarians, and 
janissaries, attached to the service of great lords. 

And all that changed in colors like a rainbow, and came 
on tumultuously, noisily, amid the neighing of horses, the 
clatter of armor, the thunder of kettle-drums, the roll of 
other drums, the blare of trumpets, and cries so loud that it 
seemed as though the snows would rush down from the 
mountains because of them. In the rear of the troops were 
to be seen closed and open carriages, in which- evidently 
were riding dignitaries of the church and the world. 

The troops took position in two lines along the road, and 
between them appeared, on a horse white as milk, the mar- 
shal of the kingdon. Pan Yerzy Lyubomirski. He flew on 
like a whirlwind over that road, and behind him raced two 
equerries, glittering in gold. When he had ridden to the 
foot of the eminence, he sprang from his horse, and throw- 
ing the reins to one of the equerries, went on foot to the 
king standing above. 


He removed his cap, and placing it on the hilt of his 
sabre, advanced with uncovered head, leaning on a staff all 
set with pearls. He was dressed in Polish fashion, in mili- 
tary costume ; on his breast was armor of silver plates 
thickly inlaid at the edges with precious stones, and so 
polished that he seemed to be bearing the sun on his 
bosom ; over his left shoulder was hanging a cloak of Vene- 
tian velvet of dark color, passing into violet purple ; it was 
fastened at the throat bv a cord with a buckle of diamonds, 
and the whole cloak was embroidered with diamonds; in 
like manner a diamond was trembling in his cap, and these 
stones glittered like many-colored sparks around his whole 
person, and dazzled the eyes, such was the brightness which 
came from them. 

He was a man in the vigor of life, of splendid form. 
His hejid was shaven around the temples ; his forelock was 
rather thin, growing gray, and lay on his forehead in a 
shaggy tuft ; his mustache, as black as the wing of a crow, 
drooped in fine points at both sides. His lofty forehead 
and Roman nose added to the beauty of his face, but the 
face was marred somewhat by cheeks that were too plump, 
and small eyes encircled with red lids. Great dignity, but 
also unparalleled pride and vanity were depicted on that face. 
You might easily divine that that magnate wished to turn 
to himself eternally the eyes of the whole Commonwealth, 
nay, of all Euroi)e ; and such was the case in reality. 

Where Yerzy Lyubomirski could not hold the first place, 
where he could only share glory and merit with others, his 
wounded pride was ready to bar the way and corrupt and 
crush every endeavor, even when it was a question of saving 
the country. 

He was an adroit and fortunate leader, but even in this 
respect others surpassed him immeasurably ; and in general 
his abilities, though uncommon, were not equal to his am- 
bition and desire of distinction. Endless unrest therefore 
was boiling in his soul, whence was born that suspicious- 
ness, that envy, which later on carried him so far that he 
l)ecarae more destructive to the Commonwealth than the 
terrible Yanush Radzivill. The black soul which dwelt in 
Prince Yanush was great also ; it stopped before no man 
and no thing. Yanush wanted a crown, and he went to- 
ward it consciously over graves and the ruin of his country. 
Lyubomirski would have taken a crown if the hands of the 
nobles had placed it on his head j but having a smaller soul. 


he dared not desire the crown openly and expressly. Rad- 
zivill was one of those men whom failure casts down to the 
level of criminals, and success elevates to the greatness of 
demigods ; Lyubomirski was a mighty disturber who was 
always ready to ruin work for the salvation of the country, 
in the name of his own offended pride, and to build up noth- 
ing in place of it. He did not even dare to raise himself, 
he did not know how. Radzivill died the more guilty, Lyu- 
bomirski the more harmful man. 

But at that hour, when in gold, velvet, and precious 
stones he stood in front of the king, his pride was suffi- 
ciently satisfied. For he was the first magnate to receive his 
own king on his own land ; he first took him under a species 
of guardianship, he had to conduct him to a throne which 
had been overturned, and to drive out the enemy ; from 
him the king and the country expected everything ; on him 
all eyes were turned. Therefore to show loyalty and ser- 
vice coincided with his self-love, in fact flattered it, he 
was ready in truth for sacrifices and devotion, he was ready 
to exceed the measure even with expressions of respect and 
loyalty. When therefore he had ascended one half of that 
eminence on which the king was standing, he took his cap 
from the sword-hilt and began, while bowing, to sweep the 
snow with its diamond plume. 

The king urged his horse somewhat toward the descent, 
then halted to dismount, for the greeting. Seeing this, the 
marshal sprang forward to hold the stirrup with his worthy 
hands, and at that moment grasping after his cloak, he 
drew it from his shoulders, and following the example of 
a certain English courtier, threw it under the feet of the 

The king, touched to the heart, opened his arms to the 
marshal, and seized him like a brother in his embrace. 
For a while neither was able to speak ; but at that exalted 
spectacle the army, the nobles, the people, roared in one 
voice, and thousands of caps flew into the air, all the guns, 
muskets, and blunderbusses sounded, cannon from Lyu- 
bovlya answered in a distant bass, till the mountains trem- 
bled; all the echoes were roused and began to course 
around, striking the dark walls of pine woods, the cliffs 
and rocks, and flew with the news to remoter mountains 
and cliffs. 

" Lord Marshal," said the king, " we will thank you for 
the restoration of the kingdom ! " 


" Gracious Lord ! " answered Lyubomirski, " my fortune, 
my life, my blood, all I have I place at the feet of your 
Royal Grace." 

" Vivat ! vivat Yoannes Casimirus Rex ! " thundered the 

" May the king live ! our father ! " cried the mountaineers. 

Meanwhile the gentlemen who were riding with the king 
surrounded the marshal; but he did not leave the royal 
person. After the first greetings the king mounted nis 
horse again; but the marshal, not wishing to recognize 
bounds to his hospitality and honor to his guest, seized 
the bridle, and going himself on foot, led the king through 
the lines of the army amid deafening shouts, till they 
came to a gilded carriage drawn by eight dapple-gray 
horses ; in this carriage Yan Kazimir took his seat, to- 
gether with Vidon, the nuncio of the Pope. 

The bishops and dignitaries took seats in succeeding car- 
riages, then they moved on slowly to Lyubovlya. The mar- 
shal rode at the window of the king's carriage, splendid, 
self-satisfied, as if he were already proclaimed father of the 
country. At both sides went a dense army, singing songs, 
thundering out in the following words : — 

" Cut the Swedes, cut, 
With sharpened swords. 

" Beat the Swedes, beat, 
With strong sticks. 

" Roll the Swedes, roll. 
Empale them on stiJLes. 

•* Torment the Swedes, torment. 
And torture them as you can. 

" Pound the Swedes, pound. 
Pull them out of their skins. 

'* Cut the Swedes, cut, 
Then there will be fewer. 

" Drown the Swedes, drown, 
If you are a good man ! " 

Unfortunately amidst the universal rejoicing and en- 
thusiasm no one foresaw that later the same troops of 
Lyubomirski, after they had rebelled against their legal 


lord and king, would sing the same song, putting the French 
in place of the Swedes. 

But now it was far from such a state. In Lyubovlya the 
cannon were thundering in greeting till the towers and 
battlements were covered with smoke, the bells were toll- 
ing as at a fire. At the part of the courtyard in which the 
king descended from the carriage, the porch and the steps 
were covered with scarlet cloth. In vases brought from 
Italy were burning perfumes of the East. The greater part 
of the treasures of the Lyubomirskis, — cabinets of gold and 
silver, carpets, mats, gobelin tapestry, woven wonderfully 
by Flemish hands, statues, clocks, cupboards, ornamented 
with precious stones, cabinets inlaid with mother-of-pearl 
and amber brought previously to Lyubovlya to preserve 
them from Swedish rapacity, were now arranged and hung 
up in display ; they dazzled the eye and changed that castle 
into a kind of fairy residence. And the marshal had ar- 
ranged all this luxury, worthy of a Sultan, in this fashion 
of purpose to show the king that though he was returning . 
as an exile, without money, without troops, having scarcely 
a change of clothing, still he was a mighty lord, since he 
had servants so powerful, and as faithful as powerful. The 
king understood this intention, and his heart rose in grati- 
tude ; every moment therefore he took the marshal by the 
shoulder, pressed his head and thanked him. The nuncio, 
though accustomed to luxury, expressed his astonishment at 
what he beheld, and they heard him say to Count Apotyngen 
that hitherto he had had no idea of the power of the King of 
Poland, and now saw that the previous defeats were merely 
a tenjporary reverse of fortune, which soon must be changed. 

At the feast, which followed a rest, the king sat on an 
elevation, and the marshal himself served him, permittinj^' 
no one to take his place. At the right of the king sat the 
nuncio, at his left the prince primate, Leshchynski, farther 
on both sides dignitaries, lay and clerical, such as the bish- 
ops of Cracow, Poznan, LvofT, Lutsk, Premysl, Helm ; the 
archdeacon of Cracow; farther on keepers ot the royal seal 
and voevodas, of whom eight had assembled, and castellans 
and referendaries ; of officers, there were sitting at the feast 
Voynillovich, Viktor, Stabkovski, and Baldwin Shurski. 

In another hall a table was set for inferior nobles, and 
there were large barracks for peasants, for all had to be 
joyful on the day of the king's coming. 

At the tables there was no other conversation but touch 


ing the royal return, and the terrible adventures which had 
met them on the road, in which the hand of God had pre- 
served the king. Yan Kazimic himself described the battle 
in the pass, and praised the cavalier who had held back the 
first Swedish onset. 

" And how is he ? " asited he of the marshal. 

"The physician does not leave him, and guarantees hie 
life ; and besides, maidens and ladies in waiting have taken 
him in care, and surely they will not let the soul go from 
the body, for the body is shapely and young ! " answered 
the marshal, joyously. 

" Praise be to God ! " cried the king. " I heard from his 
lips something which 1 shall not repeat to you, for it seems 
to me that I heard incorrectly, or that he said it in delirium ; 
but should it come true you will be astonished." 

" If he has said nothing which might make your Royal 
Grace gloomy." 

" Nothing whatever of that nature," said the king; "it has 
comforted us beyond measure, for it seems that even those 
whom we had reason to hold our greatest enemies are ready 
to spill their blood for «s if need be." 

" Gracious Lord ! " cried the marshal, " the time of reform 
has come ; but under this roof your Royal Grace is among 
persons who have never sinned even in thought against 

" True, true 1 " answered the king, " and you, Lord Marshal, 
ate in the first rank." 

" I ain a poor servant of your Eoyal Grace." 

At table the noise grew greater. Gradually they began 
to speak of political combinations j of aid from the em- 
peror, hitherto looked for in vain ; of Tartar assistance, and 
of the coming war with the Swedes. Fresh rejoicing set in 
when the marshal stated that the envoy sent by him to the 
Khan had returned just a couple of days before, and re- 
ported that forty thousand of the horde were in rt-adiness, 
and perhaps even a hundred thousand, as soon as the king 
would reach LvofE and conclude a treaty with the Khan. 
The same envoy had reported that the Cossacks through 
fear of the Tartars had returned to obedience. 

" You have thought of everything," said the king, " in 
such fashion that we could not have thought it out better 
ourselves." Then he seized his glass and said: "To the 
health of our host and friend, the marshal of the kingdom I " 

"Impossible, Gracious Lord!" cried the marshsd; "no 


man's health can be drunk here before the health of your 
Royal Grace." 

All restrained their half-raised goblets ; but Lyubomirski, 
filled with delight, perspiring, beckoned to his chief butler. 

At this sign the servants who were swarming through the 
hall rushed to pour out Malvoisie again, taken with gilded 
dippers from kegs of pure silver. Pleasure increased still 
more, and all were waiting for the toast of the marshal. 

The chief butler brought now two goblets of Venetian 
crystal of such marvellous work that they might pass for 
the eighth wonder of the world. The crystal, bored and 
polished to thinness during whole years, perhaps, cast real 
diamond light. On the setting great artists of Italy hail 
labored. The base of each goblet was gold, carved in small 
figures representing the entrance of a conqueror to the 
Capitol. The conqueror rode in a chariot of gold on a 
street paved with pearls. Behind him followed captives 
with bound hands ; with them a king, in a turban formed of 
one emerald ; farther followed legionaries with eagles and 
ensigns. More than fifty small figures found room on each 
base, — figures as high as a hazel-nut, but made so marvel- 
lously that the features of the faces and the feelings of 
each one could be distinguished, the pride of the victors, 
the grief of the vanquished. The base was bound to the 
goblet with golden filigree, fine as hair bent with wondrous 
art into grape leaves, clusters, and various flowers. Those 
filigree were wound around the crystal, and joining at the 
top in one ring formed the edge of the goblet, which was 
set with stones in seven colors. 

The head butler gave one such goblet to the king and the 
other to the marshal, both filled with Malvoisie. All rose 
from their seats ; the marshal raised the goblet, and cried 
with all the voice in his breast, — 

** Vivat Yoaunes Casimirus Rex I *' 

" Vivat ! vivat ! vivat ! " 

At that moment the guns thundered again so that the 
walls of the castle were trembling. The nobles feasting in 
the second hall came with their goblets ; the marshal wished 
to make an oration, but could not, for his words were lost 
in the endless shouts : "Vivat! vivat! vivat!" 

Such joy seized the marshal, such ecstasy, that wildness 
was gleaming in his eyes, and emptying his goblet he 
shouted so that he was heard even in the universal 
tumult, — 


" Ego ultimas (I am the last) I " 

Then he struck the priceless goblet on his own head with 
such force that the crystal sprang intoa hundred fragments, 
wliich fell with a rattle on the floor,' and the head of the 
magnate was covered with blood. All were astonished, and 
the king said, — 

** Lord Marshal, we regret not the goblet, but the head 
which we value so greatly." 

'* Treasures and jewels are nothing to me," cried the mar- 
slial, " when I have the honor of receiving your Royal Grace 
in my house. Vivat Yoannes Casimirus Rex!" 

Here the butler gave him another goblet. 

** Vivat ! vivat ! " shouted the guests without ceasing. 
The sound of broken glass was mingled with the shout. 
Only the bishops did not follow the example of the mar- 
shal, for their spiritual dignity forbade them. 

The nuncio, wlio did not know of that custom of break- 
ing glasses on the head, bent to the bishop of Poznan, sit- 
ting near him, and said, — 

** As God lives, astonishment seizes me I Your treasury 
is empty, and for one such goblet two good regiments of 
men might be equipped and maintained." 

"It is always so with us," answered the bishop; "when 
desire rises in the heart there is no measure in anything." 

And in facjt the desire grew greater each moment. 
Toward the end of the feast a bright light struck the 
windows of the castle. 

" What is that ? " asked the king. 

"Gracious Lord, I beg you to the si)ectacle," answered 
the marshal. And tottering slightly, he conducted the king 
to the window. There a wonderful sight struck their eyes. 
It was as clear in the court as when there is daylight. A 
number of tens of pitch-barrels cast a bright yellow gleam 
on the pavement, cleared of snow and strewn with leaves 
of mountain-fern. Here and there were burning tubs of 
brandy wlii(rli cast blue light; salt was sj)rinkled into some 
to make them burn red. 

The spectacle began. First knights cut off Turkish heads, 
tilted at a ring and at one another ; then the dogs of Liptovo 
fought with a bear ; later, a man from the hills, a kind of 
mountain Samson, threw a millstone and caught it in the 
air. Midnight put an end to these amusements. 

Thus did the marshal declare himself, though the Swedes 
were still in the land. 



In the midst of feasting and the throng of new dignitaries, 
nobles, and knights who were coming eontinnally, the kindly 
king forgot not his faithful servant who in the mountain- 
pass had exposed his breast tc> the Swedish sword with 
such daring ; and on the day following his arrival in Lyu- 
bovlya he visited the wounded Pan Andrei. He found him 
conscious and almost joyful, though pale as death; by a 
lucky fortune the young hero had received no grievous 
wound, only blood liad left him in large quantities. 

At sight of the king, Kmita even rose in the bed to a 
sitting position, and though the king insisted that he should 
lie down again, he was unwilling to do so. 

"Gracious Lord," said he, "in a couple of days I shall 
be on horseback, and with your gracious permission will go 
farther, for I feel that nothing is the matter with me." 

" Still they must have cut you terribly. It is an unheard 
of thing for one to withstand such a number." 

" That has happened to me more than once, for I think 
that in an evil juncture the sabre and courage are best. 
Ei, Gracious Lord, the number of cuts that have healed on 
my skin you could not count on an ox-hide. Such is my 

" Complain not of fortune, for it is evident that you go 
headlong to phices where not only blows but deaths are dis- 
tributed, lint how long do you practise such tactics ? 
Where have you fought before now ? " 

A j)assing blush covered the youthful face of Kmita. 

" Gracious Lord, I attacked Hovanski when all dropped 
their h«ands, and a price was set on my head." 

" But listen," said the king, suddenly ; " you told me a 
wonderful word in that pass. I thouglit tliat delirium had 
seized you and unsettled ^''our reason. Now you say that 
you attacked Hovanski. Who are you ? Are you not really 
feabinich ? We know who attacked Hovanski ! " 

A moment of sikuce followed ; at last the young knight 
raised his -pale face, and said, — 


" Not delirium spoke through me, but truth ; it was I who 
battered Hovanski, from which war my name was heard 
throughout the whole Commonwealth. I am Andrei Kmita, 
the banneret of Orsha." 

Here Kmita closed his eyes and grew still paler; but 
when the astonished king was silent, he began to speak 
farther, — 

** I am. Gracious Lord, that outlaw, condemned by God and 
the judgments of men for killing and violence. I served 
Radzivill, and together with him I betrayed you and the 
country ; but now, thrust with rapiers and trampled with 
horses' hoofs, unable to rise, I beat my breast, repeating, 
Mea adpa, rnea culpa! (My fault, my fault!) and I implore 
your fatherly mercy, l^orgive me, for I have cursed my 
previous acts, and have long since turned from that road 
which lies toward hell." 

Tears dropped from the eyes of the knight, and with trem- 
bling he began to seek the hand of the king. Yan Kazimir, 
it is true, did not withdraw his hand ; but he grew gloomy, 
and said, — 

" Whoso in this land wears a crown should be unceasingly 
ready to pardon ; therefore we are willing to forgive your 
offence, since on Yasna Gora and on the road you have 
served us with faithfulness, exposing your breast." 

*' Then forgive them, Gracious Jjord ! Shorten my tor- 

"But one thing we cannot forget, — that in spite of the 
virtue of this people you offered Prince Boguslav to raise 
hands on majesty, hitherto inviolable, Jind bear us away 
living or dead, and deliver us into Swedish hands." 

Kmita, though a moment before he had said himself that 
he was unable to rise, sprang from the lied, seized the cru- 
cifix hanging above him, and with the cuts on his face and 
fever in his flashing eyes, an<l breathing quickly, began to 
speak thus, — 

*'By the salvation of my father and mother, by the wounds 
of the (hucified, it is untrue ! If I am guilty of that sin, 
may God punish me at once with sudden doatlf and with 
eternal fires. If you do not believe me, T will tear these 
bandages, let out the remnant of the blood which the Swedes 
did not shed. I never made the offer. Never was such a 
thought in my head. For the kingdom of tins world, I 
would not have done such a deed. Amen I on this cross, 
amen, amen ! " And he trembled from feverish excitement. 


" Then did the prince invent it ? '' asked the astonished 
king. " Why ? for what reason ? " 

"He did invent it. It was his hellish revenge on me for 
what I did to him." 

" What did you do to him ? " 

" I carried him off from the middle of his court and of 
his whole army. 1 wanted to east him bound at the feet of 
your Royal Grace." 

" It 's a wonder, it 's a wonder ! I believe you, but I do 
not understand. How was it ? You were serving Yanush, 
and carried off Boguslav, who was less guilty, and you 
wanted to bring him bound to me ? " 

Kmita wished to answer ; but the king saw at that moment 
his pallor and suffering, therefore he said, — 

" Rest, and later tell me all from the beginning. I be- 
lieve you ; here is our hand." 

Kmita pressed the king's hand to his lips, and for some 
time was silent, for breath failed him ; he merely looked at 
the king's face with immeasurable affection ; at last he col- 
lected his strength, and said, — 

"I will tell all from the beginning. I warred against 
Hovanski, but I was hard with my own people. In part 1 
was forced to wrong them, and to take what I needed; 
I did this partly from violence, for the blood was storming 
within me. I had companions, good nobles, but no better 
than I. Here and there a man was cut down, here and 
there a house was burned, here and there some one was 
chased over the snow with sticks. An outcry was raised. 
WUiere an enemy could not touch me, complaint was made 
before a court. I lost cases by default. Sentences came 
one after another, but I paid no heed ; besides, the devil flat- 
tered me, and whispered to surpass Pan Lashch, who had his 
cloak lined with judgments ; and still he was famous, and is 
famous till now." 

"For he did penance, and died piously," remarked the 

When he had rested somewhat, Kmita continued : " Mean- 
while Coldliel Billevich — the Billeviches are a great family 
in Jmud — put off his transitory form, and was taken to 
a better world; but he left me a village and his grand- 
daughter. I do not care for the village, for in continual 
attacks on the enemy I have gathered no little property, 
and not only have made good the fortune taken from me by 
the Northerners, but have increased it. I have still in Chen- 


stohova enough to buy two such villages, and I need ask 
no one for bread. But when my party separated I went to 
winter quarters in the Lauda region. There the maiden, 
Billevich's granddaughter, came so near my heart that I 
forgot God's world. The virtue and honesty in this lady 
were such that I grew shamefaced in presence of my former 
deeds. She too, having an inborn hatred of transgression, 
pressed me to leave my previous manner of life, put an end 
to disturbances, repair wrongs, and live honestly." 

" Did you follow her advice ? " 

" How could I, Gracious Lord ! I wished to do so, it is 
true, — God sees that I wished ; but old sins follow a man. 
First, my soldiers were attacked in Upita, for which I 
burned some of the place." 

" In God's name I that is a crime," said the king. 

" That is nothing yet. Later on, the nobles of Lauda 
slaughtered my comrades, worthy cavaliers though violent. 
I was forced to avenge them. I fell upon the village of the 
Butryms that very night, and took vengeance', with fire and 
sword, for the murder. But they defeated me, for a crowd 
of homespuns live in that neighborhood. I had to hide. 
The maiden would not look at me, for those homespuns 
were made fathers and guardians to her by the will. But 
my heart was so drawn to her that I could not help myself. 
Unable to live without her, I collected a new party and 
seized her with armed hand." 

" Why, the Tartars do not make love differently." 

" I own that it was a deed of violence. But God punished 
me through the hands of Pan Volodyovski, and he cut me 
so that 1 barely escaped with my life. It would have been 
a hundred times better for me if I had not escaped, for I 
should not have joined the Radzivills to the injury of the 
king and the country. But how could it be otherwise ? A 
new suit was begun against me for a capital offence ; it was 
a question of life. I knew not what to do, when suddenly 
the voevoda of Vilna came to me with assistance." 

" Did he protect you ? " 

"He sent me a commission through this same Pan Volod- 
yovski, and thereby I went under the jurisdiction of the 
hetman, and was not afraid of the courts. I clung to Rad- 
zivill as to a plank of salvation. Soon I put on foot a squad- 
ron of men known as the greatest fighters in all Lithuania. 
There were none better in the army. I led them to Kyedani. 
Radzivill received me as a son, referred to our kinship 

VOL. II.— 12 


through the Kishkis, and promised to protect me. He had 
his object. He needed daring men ready for all things, and 
I, simpleton, crawled as it were into bird-lime. Before his 
plans had come to the surface, he commanded me to swear 
on a crucifix that I would not abandon him in any straits. 
Thinking it a question of war with the Swedes or the North- 
erners, I took the oath willingly. Then came that terrible 
feast at which the Kyedani treaty was read. The treason 
was published. Other colonels threw their batons at the 
feet of the hetman, but the oath held me as a chain holds a 
dog, and I could not leave him.'' 

" But did not all those who deserted us later swear loy- 
alty ? " asked the king, sadly. 

" I, too, though I did not throw down my baton, hail no 
wish to steep my hands in treason. What I suffered, Gra- 
cious Lord, God alone knows. I was writliing from pain, as 
if men were burning me alive with fire ; and my maiden, 
though even after the seizure the agreement between us 
remained still unbroken, now proclaimed me a traitor, and 
despised me as a vile reptile. But I had taken oath not to 
abandon Radzivill. She, though a woman, would shame a 
man with her wit, and lets no one surpass her in loyalty to 
your Royal Grace." 

" God bless her ! " said the king. *' I respect her for 

" She thought to reform me into a partisan of the king 
and the country ; and when that came to naught, slie grew 
so steadfast against me that her hatred became as great as 
her love had been once. At that juncture Radzivill called 
me before him, and began to convince me. He explained, 
as two and two form four, that in this way alone could he 
save the falling country. I cannot, indeed, repeat his argu- 
ments, they were so great, and promised such happiness to 
the land. He would have convinced a man a hundred times 
wiser, much less me, a simple soldier, he such a statesman ! 
Then, I say, your Royal Grace, that I held to him with both 
hands and my heart, for I thought that all others were blind j 
only he saw the truth, all others were sinning, only he was 
the just man. And I would have sj^rung into tire for him, 
as now I would for your Royal Grace, for I know not how to 
serve or to love with half a heart." 

"I see that, this is true ! " said Yan Kazimir. 

"I rendered him signal service," continued Kmita, gloom- 
ily, "and I can say that had it not been for me his treason 


could not have yielded any jKti^uiiuiLii fruits, for his own 
troops would have cut him to jtieces with sabres. They 
were all i-eady for that. The dragoons, the Huiigariau in- 
fantry, and the light squadrons were already slaying his 
Scots, when I spi-itng in with my men and rubbed them out 
in one twinkle, Itut there were other squadrons at various 
quarters ; these I dis^iersed. Pan Volodyovski alone, who 
had come out from prison, led his Lauda men to Podlyasye 
by a wonder and by superhuman resolve, so as to join with 
Sapyeha. Tliose who escujied lue assembled in Podlyasye 
in considerable numbers, but before they could do that many 
good soldiers jierished through me. Uod alone can count 
tbeiu. I auk no u' ledge the truth as if at confession. Pan 
Volodyovski, on his way tu Podlyasye, seized me, and did 
not wish to let me live ; but I escaped because of letters 
which they found on my [lerson, and from which it tran- 
spired that when Volodyovski was in i>rison and Radzivill 
was going to shoot him, 1 interceded persistently and saved 
him. He let mo go free then ; I returned to liadzivill and 
served longer. Hut the service was bitter for me, the soul 
began to I'evolt within me at certain deeds of the prince, for 
there is not in him either faith, honesty, or conscience, and 
from his own woiils it Ciimes ont that he works iis much tor 
himself as for the King of Sweden. 1 l)egan then to spring 
at his eyes. He grew enraged at my Imtdness, and at last 
sent me off with letters." 

"It is wonderftd wliat important things you tell," said 
the king. " At least we know from an eyewitness who i>ars 
wiujwa /wi( (took a great |iart) in affairs, how things hap- 
pened there." 

" It is true that jhii-s inatjna fti't (I took a great l>art)," 
answered Kniita. " 1 set ont with the letters willingly, for I 
could not i-emain in that place. In I'ilvishki I met Prini-e 
Hoguslav. .May God give him into my liand.s, to which end 
I sliall use all my [lOwer, so tluit my vengeance may not 
miss hiui for that slander. Xot only did I not |ironiise him 
anything, Gracious Lord, not only Is that a shameless lie, 
but it was just there in Pilvishki that I became converted 
when I saw all the naked deceit of those heretics." 

" Tell (piickly how it was, for we were told that Bi^uslar 
aided his cousin only tlii-ough constraint." 

" He ? He is worse than Prince Yanush, and in hig 
head was ttie treason first hatched. Did he not tempt the 
hetman first, pointing out a crown to him ? God will 


decide at the judgment. Yaiiush at least simulated and 
shielded himself with bono publico (public good); but Bogus- 
lav, taking me for an arch scoundrel, revealed his whole 
soul to me. It is a terror to repeat what he said. * The 
devils,' said he, 'must take your Commonwealth, it is a 
piece of red cloth, and we not only will not raise a hand to 
save it, but will pull besides, so that the largest piece may 
come to us. Lithuania,' said he, * must remain to us, and 
after Yanush I will put on the cap of Grand Prince, and 
marry his daughter.' " 

The king covered his eyes with his hands. " passion 
of our Lord ! " said he. ** The Radzivills, Radzeyovski, 
Opalinski — how could that which ha])pened not happen ! — 
they must have crowns, even through rending what the Lord 
had united." 

" I grew numb, Gracious Lord, 1 had water poured on my 
head so as not to go mad. The soul changed in me in one 
moment, as if a thunderbolt had shaken it. I was terrified 
at my own work. I knew not what to do, whether to thrust 
a knife into Boguslav or into myself. 1 bellowed like a 
wild beast, they had driven me into such a trap. 1 wanted 
service no longer with the Radzivills, but vengeance. God 
gave me a sudden thought : 1 went with a few men to the 
quarters of Prince Boguslav, I brought him out beyond the 
town, I carried him off and wanted to bring him to the con- 
federates so as to buy myself into their company and into 
the service of your Royal Grace at the price of his head." 

" I forgive you all ! " cried the king, " for they led you 
astray ; but you have repaid them ! Kmita alone could have 
done that, no man besides. I overlook all and forgive you 
from my heart ! But tell me quickly, for curiosity is burning 
me, did he escape ? " 

*' At the first st^ation he snatched the pistol from my belt 
and shot me in the mouth, — here is the scar. He killed 
my men and escaped. He is a famous knight, it would be 
hard to deny that ; but we shall meet again, though that 
were to be my last hour." 

Here Kmita began to tear at the blanket with which lie 
was covered, but the king interrupted him quickly, — 

" And through revenge he invented that letter against 
you ? " 

** And through revenge he sent that letter. I recovered 
from the wound, in the forest, but my soul was suffering 
more and more. To Volodyovski, to the confederates I could 


not go, for the Lauda men would have cut me to pieces with 
their sabres. Still, knowing that the hetman was about to 
march against them, I forewarned them to collect in a body. 
And that was my first good deed, for without that Radzivill 
would have crushed them out, stiuadron after squadron ; but 
now they have overcome him and, as I hear, are besieging 
him. May God aid them and send punishment to Radzivill, 
amen ! '' 

"That may have happened already; and if not it will 
happen surely,'' said the king. "What did you do fur- 
ther ? '' 

" I made up my mind that, not being able to serve with 
the confederate troops of your Royal Grace, I would go to 
your person and there atone for my former offences with 
loyalty. But how was I to go ? Who would receive Kmita, 
who would believe him, who would not proclaim him a 
traitor? Therefore I assumed the name Babinich, and 
passing through the whole Commonwealth, I reached Chen- 
Btohova. Whether I have rendered any services there, let 
Father Kordetski give witness. Day and night I was think- 
ing only how to repair the injuries to the country, how to 
spill my blood for it, how to restore myself to repute and 
to honesty. The rest. Gracious Lord, you know already, for 
you have seen it. And if a fatherly kind heart incline you, 
if this new service has outweighed my old sins, or even 
equalled them, then receive me to your favor and your heart, 
for all have deserted me, no one comforts me save you. You 
alone see my sorrow and tears, — I am an outcast, a traitor, 
an oath-breaker, and still I love this country and your 
Royal Grace. God sees that I wish to serve both." 

Here hot tears dropped from the eyes of the young man 
till he was carried away with weejung; but the king, like a 
loving father, seizing him by the head began to kiss his 
forehead and comfort him. 

" Yendrek I you are as dear to me as if you were my own 
son. What have I said to you ? That you sinned through 
blindness ; and how many sin from calculatit)n ? From my 
heart I forgive you all, for you have wiped away your faults. 
More than one would be gla<l to boast of such services as 
yours. I forgive you and the country forgives ; and besides, 
we are indebted to you. Put an end to your grieving." 

" God give your Royal Grace everything good for this 
sympathy," said the knight, with tears. " But as it is I must 
do penance yet in the world for that oath to Radzivill; for 


though I knew not to what I was swearing, still an oath is 
an oath." 

"God will not condemn you for that," said the king. 
" He would have to send half this Commonwealth to hell ; 
namely, all those who broke faith with us." 

" I think myself, Gracious King, that I shall not go to 
hell, for Kordetski assured me of that, though he was not 
certain that purgatory would miss me. It is a hard thing to 
roast for a hundred of years. But it is well even to go 
there ! A man can endure much when the hope of salva- 
tion is lighting him ; and besides prayers can help somewhat 
and shorten the torment." 

" Do not grieve," said Yan Kazimir, " I will prevail on 
the nuncio himself to say Mass for your intention. With 
such assistance you will not suffer great harm. Trust in the 
mercy of God." 

Kmita smiled through his tears. ** Besides," said he, 
" God give me to return to strength, then I will shell the 
soul out of more than one Swede, and through that there 
will be not only merit in heaven, but it will repair my 
earthly repute." 

" Be of good cheer and do not be troubled about earthly 
glory. I guarantee that what belongs to you will not miss 
you. More peaceful times will come ; I myself will declare 
your services, which are not small, and surely they will be 
greater ; and at the Diet, with God's help, 1 will have this 
question raised, and you will be restored soon to honor." 

" Let that. Gracious Lord, give some comfort ; but before 
then the courts will attack me, from which even the influ- 
ence of your Royal Grace cannot shield me. But never 
mind ! I will not yield while there is breath in my nostrils, 
and a sabre in my hand. I am anxious concerning the maiden. 
Olenka is her name. Gracious Lord; 1 have not seen her this 
long time, and I have suffered, oh, I have suffered a world 
without her and because of her ; and though at times I 
might wish to drive her out of my heart and wrestle with 
love as with a bear, it 's of no use, for such a fellow as he will 
not let a man go." 

Yan Kazimir smiled good-naturedly and kindly : ^* How 
can I help you here, my poor man ? " 

" Who can help me if not your grace ? That maiden is an 
inveterate royalist, and she will never forgive me my deeds 
at Kyedani, unless your Royal Grace will make intercession, 
and give witness how I changed and returned to the service of 


the king and my country, not from constraint, not for profit, 
but througli my own will and repentance." 

** If that is the question 1 will make the intercession ; and 
if she is such a royalist as you say, the intercession should 
be effectual, — if the girl is only free, and if some mishap has 
not met her such as are frequent in war-time." 

" May angels protect her ! " 

** She deserves it. So that the courts may not trouble you, 
act thus wise : Levies will be made now in haste. Since, as 
you say, outlawry weighs on you, I cannot give you a com- 
mission as Kmita, but 1 will give you one as Babinich ; you 
will make a levy which will be for the good of the country, 
for you are clearly a mettlesome soldier with experience. 
You will take the field under Stefan Charnyetski ; under 
him death is easiest, but the chances of glory are easiest. 
And if need comes you will attack the Swedes of yourself as 
you did Hovanski. Your conversion and good deeds com- 
menced with the day when you called yourself Babinich ; 
call yourself Babinich still further, and tiie courts will leave 
you at rest. When you will be as bright as the sun, when 
the report of your services will be heard through the Com- 
monwealth, let men discover who this great cavalier is. This 
and that kind of man will Ik? ashamed to summon such a 
knight to a court. At that time some will have died, you will 
satisfy others. Not a few decisions will be lost, and I promise 
to exalt your services to the skies, and will present them to 
the Diet for reward, for in my eyes they deserve it." 

*Miracious Lord! how have I earned such favors?" 

" Better than many who think they have a right to them. 
Well, well I be not grieved, dear royalist, for I trust that 
the royalist maiden will not l>e lost to you, and God grant 
you to assemble for me more royalists soon." 

Kmita, though sick, sprang quickly from the bed and fell 
his whole length at the feet of the king. 

" In God's name ! what are you doing ? " cried the king. 
" The blood will leave you ! Yendrek I Hither, some one ! " 

In came the marshal himself, who had long been looking 
for the king through the castle. 

"Holy Yerzy! my patron, what do I see?" cried he, 
when he saw the king raising Kmita with his own hands. 

"This is Babinich, my most beloved soldier and most 
faithful servant, who saved my life yesterday," said the 
king. "Help, Lord Marshal, to raise him to the couch." 



From Lyubovlya the kiug advanced to Dukla, Krosno, 
Lantsut, and Lvoff, having at his side the marshal of the 
kingdom, many dignitaries and senators, with the court 
squadrons and escorts. And as a great river flowing 
through a country gathers to itself all the smaller waters, 
80 did new legions gather to the retinue of the king. Lcrds 
and armed nobles thronged forward, and soldiers, now sin- 
gly, now in groups, and crowds of armed peasants burning 
with special hatred against the Swedes. 

The movement was becoming universal, and the military 
order of things had begun to lead to it. Threatening mani- 
festoes had appeared dated from Sanch : one by Constan- 
tine Lyubomirski, the marshal of the Circle of Knights; 
the other by Yan Vyelopolski, the castellan of Voinik, 
both calling on the nobles in the province of Cracow to join 
the general militia; those failing to appear were threat- 
ened with the punishments of public law. The manifesto 
of the king completed these, and brought the most slothful 
to their feet. 

But there was no need of threats, for an immense enthu- 
siasm had seized all ranks. Old men and children mounted 
their horses. Women gave up their jewels, their dresses ; 
some rushed off to the conflict themselves. 

In the forges gypsies were pounding whole nights and 
days with their hammers, turning the innocent tools of the 
ploughman into weapons. Villages and towns were empty, 
for the men had marched to the field. From the heaven- 
touching mountains night and day crowds of wild people 
were pouring down. The forces of the king increased with 
each moment. The clergy came forth with crosses and 
banners to meet the king ; Jewish societies came with their 
rabbis; his advance was like a mighty triumph. From 
every side flew in the best tidings, as if borne by the wind. 

Not only in that part of the country which the invasion 
of the enemy had not included did people rush to arms. 
Everywhere in the remotest lands and provinces, in towns. 


villages, settlements, and unapproachable wildernesses, the 
awful war of revenge and retaliation raised its flaming head. 
The lower the people had fallen before, the higher they 
raised their heads now ; they had been reborn, changed in 
spirit, and in their exaltation did not even hesitate to tear 
open their own half-healed wounds, to free their blood of 
poisoned juices. 

They had begun already to si>eak, and with increasing 
loudness, of the powerful union of tlie nobles and the army, 
at the head of whicli were to bo tlie old grand hetman 
Revera Pototski and the full hetman Lantskoronski, Stefan 
Charnyetski and Sapyeha, iVIichael Radzivill, a powerful 
magnate anxious to remove the ill-fame which Yanush had 
brought on the house, and Pan Kryshtof Tyshkyevich, with 
many other senators, provincial and military officials and 

Letters were flying every day Ijetween these men and the 
marshal of the kingdom, who did not wish that so noted a 
imion should be formed without him. Tidings more and 
more certain arrived, till at last it was announced with 
authority that the hetmans and with them the army had 
abandoned the Swedes, and formed for the defence of the 
king and the country the confederation of Tyshovtsi. 

The king knew of this first, for he and the queen, though 
far apart, had labored no little through letters and messen- 
gers at the formation of it ; still, not being able to take per- 
sonal part in the affair, he waited for the tenor of it with 
impatience. But before he came to Lvoff, Pan Slujevski 
with Pan Domashevski, judge of Lukoff, came to him bring- 
ing assurances of service and loyalty from the confederates 
and the act of union for confirmation. 

The king then read that act at a general council of bishops 
and senators. The hearts of all were filled with delight, 
their spirits rose in thankfulness to Grod ; for that memor- 
able confederacy annoimced not merely that the people had 
come to their senses, but that they had changed ; that peo- 
ple of whom not long before the foreign invader might say 
that they had no loyalty, no love of country, no conscience, 
no order, no endurance, nor any of those virtues through 
which nations and States do endure. 

The testimony of all these virtues lay now before the 
king in the act of a confederation and its manifesto. . In it 
was summed up the perfidy of Karl Gustav, his violation 
of oaths and promises, the cruelty of his generals and his 


soldiers, such, as are not practised by even the wildest of 
people, desecration of churches, oppression, rapacity, rob- 
bery, shedding of innocent blood, and they declared against 
the Scandinavian invasion a war of life or death. A mani- 
festo terrible as the trumpet of the archangel, summoned 
not only knights but all ranks and all people in the Com- 
monwealth. Even inf antes (the infamous), hanniti (outlaws), 
and proscripti (the proscribed) should go to this war, said 
the manifesto. The knights were to mount their horses 
and expose their own breasts, and the land was to furnish 
infantry, — wealthy holders more, the poorer less, according 
to their wealth and means. 

"Since in this state good and evil belong equally to all, it 
is proper that all should share danger. Whoso calls him- 
self a noble, with land or without it, and if one noble has a 
number of sons, they should all go to the war against the 
enemies of the Commonwealth. Since we all, whether of 
higher or lower birth, being nobles, are eligible to all the 
prerogatives of office, dignity, and profit in the country, so 
we are equal in this, that we should go in like manner with 
our own persons to the defence of these liberties and 

Thus did that manifesto explain the equality of nobles. 
The king, the bishops, and the senators, who for a long time 
had carried in their hearts the thought of reforming the 
Commonwealth, convinced themselves with joyful wonder 
that the people had become ripe for that reform, that they 
were ready to enter upon new paths, rub the rust and mould 
from themselves, and begin a new, glorious life. 

" With this," explained the manifesto, " we open to each 
deserving man of plebeian condition a place, we indicate 
and offer by this our confederation an opportunity to reach 
and acquire the honors, prerogatives, and benefits which 
the noble estate enjoys — " 

When this introduction was read at the royal council, a 
deep silence followed. Those who with the king desired 
most earnestly that access to rights of nobility should be 
open to people of lower station thought that they would 
have to overcome, endure, and break no small opposition ; 
that whole years would pass before it would l)e safe to give 
utterance to anything similar ; meanwhile that same nobility 
which hitherto had been so jealous of its prerogatives, so 
stubborn in appearance, opened wide the gate to the gray 
crowds of peasants. 

' THE DELUGE. 187 

The primate rose, encircled as it were by the spirit of 
prophecy, and said, — 

" Since you have inserted that punctum (paragraph), pos- 
terity will glorify this confederation from age to a^e, and 
when any one shall wish to consider these times as times of 
the fall of ancient Polish virtue, in contradicting him men 
will point to you." 

Father Gembitski was ill ; therefore he could not speak, 
but with hand trembling from emotion he blessed the act 
and the envoys. 

" I see the enemy already departing in shame from this 
land I " said the king. 

" Grod grant it most quickly ! " cried both envoys. 

*' Gentlemen, you will go with us to Lvoif," said the king, 
** where we will confirm this confederation at once, and 
besides shall conclude another which the powers of hell 
itself will not overcome." 

The envoys and senators looked at one another as if ask- 
ing what power was in question ; the king was silent, but 
his countenance grew brighter and brighter; he took the 
act again in his hand and read it a second time, smiled, and 
asked, — 

" Were there many opponents ? " 

** Gracious Lord," answered Pan Domashevski, " this con- 
federacy arose with unanimity through the efforts of the 
lietmans, of Sapyeha, of Pan Charnyetski ; and among nobles 
not a voice was raised in opposition, so angry are they all 
at the Swedes, and so have they flamed up with love for the 
country and your majesty." 

" We decided, moreover, in advance," added Pan Slujevski, 
" that this was not to be a diet, but that pluralitus (plurality) 
alone was to decide ; therefore no man's veto could injure 
the cause ; we should have cut an opponent to pieces with 
our sabros. All said too that it was necessary to finish with 
the liberum veto, since it is freedom for one, but slavery for 

" Golden words of yours ! " said the primate. " Only let 
a reform of the Commonwealth come, and no enemy will 
frighten us." 

" But where is the voevoda of Vityebsk ? " asked the king. 

" He went in the night, after the signing of the manifesto, 
to his own troops at Tykotsin, in which he holds the voe- 
voda of Vilna, the traitor, besieged. Before this time he 
must have taken him, living or dead." 


" Was he so sure of capturing him ? " 

" He was as sure as that night follows day. All, even his 
most faithful servants, have deserted the traitor. Only a 
handful of Swedes are defending themselves there, and rein- 
forcements cannot come from any side. Pan Sapyeha said 
in Tyshovtsi, ' I wanted to wait one day, for I should have 
finished with Radzivill before evening ! but this is more 
important than Radzivill, for they can take him without 
me ; one squadron is enough.' " 

"Praise be to Grod!" said the king. "But where is 
Charnyetski ? " 

" So many of the best cavaliers have hurried to him that 
in one day he was at the head of an excellent squadron. He 
moved at once on the Swedes, and where he is at this mo- 
ment we know not." 

" But the hetmans ? " 

" They are waiting anxiously for the commands of your 
Royal Grace. They are both laying plans for the coming 
war, and are in communication with Pan Yan Zamoyski in 
Zamost ; meanwhile regiments are rolling to them every day 
with the snow." 

" Have all left the Swedes then ? " 

" Yes, Gracious King. There were deputies also to the het- 
mans from the troops of Konyetspolski, who is with the 
person of Karl Gustav. And they too would be glad to re- 
turn to their lawful service, though Karl does not spare on 
them promises or flattery. They said too that though they 
could not recedere (withdraw) at once, they would do so as 
soon as a convenient time came, for they have grown tired 
of his feasts and his flattery, his eye-winking and clapping 
of hands. They can barely hold out." 

" Everywhere people are coming to their senses, every- 
where good news," said the king. " Praise to the Most 
Holy Lady ! This is the happiest day of my life, and a 
second such will come only when the last soldier of the 
enemy leaves the boimdary of the Commonwealth." 

At this Pan Domashevski struck his sword. " May God 
not grant that to happen ! " said he. 

" How is that ? " asked the king, with astonishment. 

" That the last wide-breeches should leave the boundaries 
of the Commonwealth on his own feet ? Impossible, Gracious 
Lord ! What have we sabres at our sides for ? " 

" Oh ! " said the king, made glad, " that is bravery." 
But Pan Slujevski, not wishing to remain behind 



mashevski, said : " As true as life we will not agree to 
that, and first I will place a veto on it. We shall not be 
content with their retreat ; we will follow them ! " 

The primate shook his head, and smiled kindly. " Oh, 
the nobles are on horseback, and they will ride on and on ! 
But not too fast, not too fast ! The enemy are still within 
the boundaries." 

"Their time is short! " cried both confederates. 

" The spirit lias changed, and fortune will change," said 
Father Gembitski, in a weak voice. 

" Wine ! " cried the king. " Let me drink to the change, 
with the confederates." 

They brought wine ; but with the servants who brought 
the wine entered an old attendant of the king, who said, — 

" Gracious Lord, Pan Kryshtoi)orski lias come from Chen- 
stohova, and wishes to do homage to your Royal Grace." 

" Bring him here quickly ! " cried the king. 

In a moment a tall, thin noble entered, with a frowning 
look. He bowed before the king to his feet, then rather 
haughtily to tlie dignitaries, and said, — 

" May the Lord Jesus Christ be praised ! " 

"For the ages of agies ! " answered the king. "What is 
to be heard from the monastery ? " 

"Terrible frost. Gracious Lord, so that the eyelids are 
frozen to the eyeballs." 

" But for God's sake ! tell us of the Swedes and not of the 
frost ! " cried the king. 

" But what can I say of them. Gracious Lord, when there 
are none at Chenstohova ? " asked he, humorously. 

" Those tidings have come to us," replied the king, " but 
only from the talk of people, and you have come from the 
cloister itself. Are you an eyewitness ? " 

" I am. Gracious Lord, a partner in the defence and an eye- 
witness of the miracles of the Most Holy Lady." 

" That was not the end of Her grace," said the king, rais- 
ing his eyes to heaven, " but let us earn them further." 

" I have seen much in my life," continued the noble ; " but 
such evident miracles I have not seen, touching which the 
prior Kordetski writes in detail in this letter." 

Yan Kazimir seized hastily the letter handed him by the 
noble, and began to read. At times he interrupted the read- 
ing to pray, then again turned to the letter. His face changed 
with joyful feelings ; at last he raised his eyes to the noble. 

" Father Kordetski writes me," said he, " that you hav© 


lost a great cavalier, a certain Babiiiicli, who blew up the 
Swedish siege gun with powder ? " 

" He sacrificed himself for all. But some say he is alive, 
and God knows what they have said j not being certain, we 
have not ceased to mourn him, for without his gallant deed 
it would have been hard for us to defend ourselves." 

" If that is true, then cease to mourn him. Pan Babinich 
is alive, and here with us. He was the first to inform us 
that the Swedes, not being able to do anything against the 
power of God, were thinking of retreat. And later he ren- 
dered such famous service that we know not ourselves how 
to pay him." 

" Oh, that will comfort the prior ! " cried the noble, with 
gladness ; " but if Pan Babinich is alive, it is only because he 
has the special favor of the Most Holy Lady. How that 
will comfort Father Kordetski ! A father could not love a 
son as he loved him. And your lloyal Grace will permit me 
to greet Pan Babinich, for there is not a second man of such 
daring in the Commonwealth." 

But the king began again to read, and after a while 
cried, — 

" What do I hear ? After retreating they tried once again 
to steal on the cloister ? " 

" When Miller went away, he did not show himself again ; 
but Count Veyhard appeared unexpectedly at the walls, trust- 
ing, it seems, to find tne gates open. He did, but the peasants 
fell on him with such rage that he retreated shamefully. 
While the world is a world, simple peasants have never 
fought so in the open field against cavalry. Then Pan 
Pyotr Charnyetski and Pan Kulesha came up and cut him 
to pieces." 

The king turned to the senators. 

"See how poor ploughmen stand up in defence of this 
country and the holv faith." 

" That they stand up, Gracious King, is true," cried the 
noble. " Whole villages near Chenstohova are empty, for 
the peasants are in the field with their scythes. There is 
a fierce war everywhere ; the Swedes are forced to keep to- 
gether in numbers, and if the peasants catch one of them 
they treat him so that it would be better for him to go 
straight to hell. Who is not taking up arms now in the 
Commonwealth ? It was not for the dog-brothei-s to attack 
Chenstohova. From that hour they could not remain in 
this country." 



" From this hour no man will suffer oppression in this 
land who resists now with his blood," said the king, with 
solemnity ; " so help me God and the holy cross ! " 

" Amen ! " added the primate. 

Now the noble struck his forehead with his hand. " The 
frost has disturbed my mind, Gracious Lord, for I forgot to 
tell one thing, that such a son, the voevoda of Poznan, is 
dead. He died, they say, suddenly.'' 

Here the noble was somewhat ashamed, seeing that he had 
called a great senator " that such a son " in presence of the 
king and dignitaries ; therefore he added, confused, — 

" r did not wish to belittle an honoi-able station, but a 

But no one had noticed that clearly, for all looked at the 
king, who said, — 

" We have long predestined Pan Yan Leslfchynski to be 
voevoda of Poznan, even during the life of Pan Opalinski. 
Let him fill that office more worthily. The judgment of 
God, I see, has begnn upon those who brought this country 
to its decline, for at this mom<*nt, perhaps, the voevoda of 
Vilna is giving an account of his deeds before the Supreme 
Judge." Here he turned to the bishops and senatoi-s, — 

" But it is time for us to think of a general war, and I 
wish to have the opinion of all of you, gentlemen, on this 



At the moment when the king was saying that the voe- 
voda of Vilna was standing, perhaps, beiore the judgment 
of God, he spoke as it were with a prophetic spirit, for at 
that hour the affair of Tykotsin was decided. 

On December 25 Sapyeha was so sure of capturing Ty- 
kotsin that he went himself to Tyshovtsi, leaving the further 
conduct of the siege to l^an Oskyerko. He gave command 
to wait for th6 final storm till his retuni, which was to fol- 
low quickly; assembling, therefore, his more prominent 
officers, he said, — 

" Reports have come to me that among the officers there 
is a plan to bear apart on sabres the voevoda of Vilna im- 
mediately after capturing the castle. Now if the castle, as 
may happen, should surrender during my absence, I inform 
you, gentlemen, that I prohibit most strictly an attack on 
Radzivill's life. 1 receive letters, it is true, from persons of 
whom you gentlemen do not even dream, not to let him live 
when I take him. But I do not choose to obey these com- 
mands ; and this I do not from any compassion, for the 
traitor is not worthy of that, but because I have no right 
over his life, and I prefer to bring him before the Diet, so 
that posterity may have in this case an example that no 
greatness of family, no office can cover such offence, nor 
protect him from public punishment." 

In this sense spoke the voevoda of Vityebsk, but more 
minutely, for his honesty was equalled by this weakness : 
he esteemed himself an orator, and loved on every occasion 
to speak copiously, and listened with delight to his own 
words, adding to them the most beautiful sentences from 
the ancients. 

" Then I must steep my right hand well in water," an- 
swered Zagloba, "for it itches terribly. But I only say 
this, that if Radzivill had me in liis hands, surely he would 
not spare my head till sunset. He knows well who in great 

Eart made his troops leave him ; he knows well who em- 
roiled him with the Swedes. But even if he does, 1 know 


not why I should be more indulgent to Radzivill than Rad- 
zivill to me." 

"Because the command is not in your hands and you 
must obey," said Sapyeha, with dignity. 

" That I must obey is true, but it is well at times also to 
obey Zagloba. I say this boldly, because if Radzivill had 
listened to me when I urged him to defend the country, 
lie would not be in Tykotsin to-day, but in the field at the 
head of all the troops of Lithuania." 

" Does it seem to you that the baton is in bad hands ? " 

" It would not become me to say that, for I placed it in 
those hands. Our gracious lord, Yan Kazimir, has only 
to confirm my choice, nothing more." 

The voevoda smiled at this, for he loved Zagloba and his 

" Lord brother," said he, " you crushed Radzivill, you 
made me hetman, and all this is your merit. Permit me 
now to go in peace to Tyshovtsi, so that Sapyeha too may 
serve the country in something." 

Zagloba put his hands on his hips, thought awhile as 
if he were considering whether he ought to permit or 
not; at last his eye gleamed, he nodded, and said with 
importance, — 

" Go, your grace, in peace." 

" God reward you for the permission ! " answered the voe- 
voda, with a laugh. 

Other officers seconded the voevoda's laugh. He was pre- 
paring to start, for the carriage was under the window ; he 
took farewell of all, therefore, giving each in&tructions what 
to do during his absence; then approaching Volodyovski, he 
said, — 

" If the castle surrenders you will answer to me for the 
life of the voevoda." 

"According to order ! a hair will not fall from his head," 
said the little knight. 

" Pan Michael," said Zagloba to him, after the departure of 
the voevoda, " I am curious to know what persons are urjging 
our Sapyo^ not to let Radzivill live when he captures him." 

" How should I know ? " answered the little knight. 

" If you say that what another mouth does not whisper 
to your ear your own will not suggest, you tell the truth ! 
But they must be some considerable persons, since they are 
able to command the voevoda." 

1 Sapyeha. 
VOL. II. — 13 


** Maybe it is the king himself.'* 

" The king ? If a dog bit the king he would forgive him 
that minute, and give him cheese in addition. Such is his 

" I will not dispute about that ; but still, do they not say 
that he is greatly incensed at Radzivill?'' 

" First, any man will succeed in being angry, — for exam- 
ple, my anger at Radzivill ; secondly, how could he be in- 
censed at Radzeyovski when he took his sons in guardian- 
ship, because the father was not better ? That is a golden 
heart, and I think it is the queen who is making requests 
against the life of Radzivill. She is a worthy lady, not 
a word against that, but she has a woman's mind ; and know 
that if a woman is enraged at you, even should you hide in 
a crack of the floor, she will pick you out with a pin."' 

Volodyovski sighed at this, and said, — 

** Why should any woman be angry with me, since 1 have 
never made trouble for one in my life ? " 

" Ah, but you would liave been glad to do so. Therefore, 
though you serve in the cavalry, you rush on so wildly 
against the walls of Tykotsin with infantry, for you think 
not only is Radzivill there, but Panna Billevich. I know 
you, you rogue ! Is it not true ? You have not driven her 
out of your head yet." 

^* There was a time when I had put her thoroughly out 
of my head ; and Kmita himself, if now here, would be 
forced to confess that my action was knightly, not wishing to 
act against people in love. I chose to forget my rebuff, but 
I will not hide this : if Panna Billevich is now in Tykotsin, 
and if God permits me a second time to save her from trou- 
ble, I shall see in that the expressed will of Providence. 
1 need take no thought of Kmita, I owe him nothing; and 
the hope is alive in me that if ho left her of his own will 
she must have forgotten him, and such a thing will not 
happen now as happened to me the first time." 

Conversing in this way, they reached their quarters, where 
they found Pan Yan and Pan Stanislav, Roh Kovalski and 
the lord tenant of Vansosh, Jendzian. 

The cause of Sapyeha's tri]> to Tyshovtsi was no secret, 
hence all the knights were pleased that so honorable a 
confederacy would rise in defence of the faith and the 

" Another wind is blowing now in the whole Common- 
wealth," said Pan Stanislav, " and, thanks be to God, in the 
eyes of the Swedes." 


" It began from Chenstohova," answered Pan Yan. " There 
was news yesterday that the cloister holds out yet, and 
repulses more and more powerful assaults. Permit not, 
Most Holy Mother, the enemy to put Thy dwelling-place 
to shame." 

Here Jendzian sighed and said : " Besides the holy images 
how much precious treasure would go into enemies' hands ; 
when a man thinks of that, food refuses to pass his 
throat ! " 

" The troops are just tearing away to the assault ; we can 
hardly hold them back," said Pan Michael. "Yesterday 
Stankyevich's squadron moved without orders and without 
ladders, for they said, * When we finish this traitoi', we will 
go to relieve Chenstohova; ' and when any man mentions 
Chenstohova all grit their teeth and shake their sabres." 

" Why have we so many squadrons here when one half 
would be enough for Tykotsin?" asked Zagloba. ** It is 
the stubbornness of Sapyeha, nothing more. He does not 
wish to obey me ; he wants to show that without my coun- 
sel he can do something. As you see yourselves, how ai-e so 
many men to invest one paltry castle ? They merely hinder 
one another, for there is not room for them all." 

" Military experience speaks through you, — it is impossi- 
ble ! " answered Pan Stanislav. 

*• Well, I have a head on my shoulders." 

" Uncle has a head on his shoulders ! " cried Pan Roh, 
suddenly ; and straightening his mustaches, he began to look 
around on all present as if seeking some one to contradict 

" But the voevoda too has a head," answered Pan Yan ; 
" and if so many squadrons are here, there is danger that 
l*rinee Boguslav might come to the relief of his cousin." 

" Then send a cou[)le of light squadrons to ravage Elec- 
toral Prussia," said Zagloba; "and summon volunteers 
there from among oonimon people. I myself would be the 
first man to go to try Prussian beer." 

" Beer is not good in winter, unless warmed," remarked 
Pan Michael. 

" Then give us wino, or gorailka, or mead," said Zagloba. 

Others also exhibited a willingness to drink ; therefore 
the lord tenant of Vansosh occupied himself with that 
business, and soon a number of decanters were on the ta- 
ble. Hearts were glad at this sight, and the knights began 
to drink to one another, raising their goblets each time for 
a new health. 


" Destruction to the Swedes, may they not skin our bread 
very long!" said Zagloba. "Let them devour their pine 
cones in Sweden." 

" To the health of his Royal Grace and the Queen I " said 
Tan Yan. 

" And to loyal men ! " said Volodyovski. 

" Then to our own healtlis ! " 

" To the health of Uncle ! " thundered Kovalski. 

" Go4 reward ! Into your hands ! and empty though 
your lips to the bottom. Zagloba is not yet entirely old ! 
Worthy gentlemen ! may we smoke this badger out of his 
hole with all haste, and move then to Chenstohova." 

" To Chenstohova ! " shouted Kovalski. " To the rescue 
of the Most Holy Lady." 

" To Chenstohova ! " cried all. 

" To defend the treasures of Yasna Gora from the Pa- 
gans!" added Jendzian. 

" Who pretend that they believe in the Lord Jesus, wish- 
ing to hide their wickedness; but in fact they only howl at 
the moon like dogs, and in this is all their religion." 

*' And such as these raise their hands against the splen- 
dors of Yasna Gora ! " 

" You have touched the six)t in speaking of their faith," 
said Volodyovski to Zagloba, " for I myself have heard how 
they howl at tlie moon. They said afterward that they 
were singing Lutheran psalms ; but it is certain that the 
dogs sing such psalms." 

" How is that ? " asked Kovalski. " Are there such peo- 
ple among them ? " 

" There is no other kind," answered Zagloba, with deep 

" And is their king no better ? " 

" Their king is the worst of all. He began this war of 
purpose to blaspheme the true faith in the churches." 

Here Kovalski, who had drunk much, rose and said : " If 
that is true, then as sure as you are looking at me, and as 
1 am Kovalski, I '11 spring straight at the Swedish king in 
the first battle, and though he stood in the densest throng, 
that is nothing ! My death or his ! I '11 roach him with 
my lance, — ho\l me a fool, gentlemen, if I do not ! " 

When he had said this he clinched his fist and was going 
to thunder on the table. He would have smashed the 
glasses and decanters, and broken the table ; but Zagloba 
caught him hastily by the arm and said, — 


" Sit down, Roh, and give us peace. We will not think 
you a fool if you do not do this, but know that we will not 
stop thinking you a fool until you have done it. I do not 
understand, though, how you can raise a lance on the King 
of Sweden, when you are not in the hussars." 

" I will join the escort and be enrolled in the squadron 
of Prince Polubinski ; and ray father will help me." 

" Father Koh ? " 

** Of course." 

" Let him help you, but break not these glasses, or I '11 
be the first man to break your head. Of what was I speak- 
ing, gentlemen ? Ah ! of Chenstohova. Liictus (grief) 
will devour me, if we do not come in time to save the holy 
place. Lucttts will devour me, 1 tell you all ! And all 
through that traitor liadzivill and the philosophical reason- 
ing of Sapyehii." 

" Say nothing against the voevoda. He is an honorable 
man," said the little knight. 

" Why cover Radzivill with two halves when one is suffi- 
cient? Nearly ten thousand men are around this little 
booth of a castle, the best cavalry and infantry. Soon they 
will lick the soot out of all the chimneys in this region, for 
what was on the hearths they have eaten already." 

" It is not for us to argue over the reasons of superiors, 
but to obey ! " 

'* It is not for you to argue, Pan Michael, but for me ; 
half of the troops who abandoned Radzivill chose me as 
leader, and I would have driven Karl Gustav beyond the 
tenth boundary ere now, but for that luckless modesty 
which commanded me to place the baton in the hands of 
Sapyeha. Let him put an end to his delay, lest I take back 
what I gave." 

" You are only so daring after drink," said Volodyovski. 

** Do you say that ? Well, you will see ! This very day 
I will go among the squadrons and call out, 'Gracious gen- 
tlemen, whoso chooses come with me to Chenstohova ; it is 
not for you to wear out your elbows and knees against the 
mortar of Tykotsin ! I beg you to come with me ! Whoso 
made me commander, whoso gave me power, whoso liad con- 
fidence that I would do what was useful for the country and 
the faith, let him stand at my side. It is a beautiful thing 
to punish traitors, but a hundred times more beautiful to 
save the Holy Lady, our Mother and the Patroness of this 
kingdom from oppression and the yoke of the heretic* " 


Here Zagloba, from whose forelock the steam had for 
some time been rising, stai-ted up from his place, sprang 
to a bench, and began to shout as if he were before an 
assembly, — 

" Worthy gentlemen ! whoso is a Catholic, whoso a 
Pole, whoso has pity on the Most Holy Lady, let him fol- 
low me ! To the relief of Chenstohova ! " 

" I go ! " shouted Roh Kovalski. 

Zagloba looked for a while on those present, and see- 
ing astonishment and silent faces, he came down from 
the bench and said, — 

" I '11 teach Sai)yeha reason ! I am a rascal if by to- 
morrow I do not take half the army from Tykotsin and 
lead it to Chenstohova." 

" For God's sake, restrain yourself, father ! " said Pan 

" I 'm a rascal, I tell you ! " repeated Zagloba. 

They were frightened lest he should carry out his threat, 
for he was able to do so. In many squadrons there was 
murmuring at the delay in Tykotsin ; men really gnashed 
their teeth thinking of Chenstohova. It was enough to 
cast a spark on that powder ; and what if a man so stubborn, 
of such immense knightly importance as Zagloba, should 
cast it ? To begin with, the greater part of Sapyeha's 
army was composed of new recruits, and therefore of men 
unused to discipline, and ready for action on their own ac- 
count, and they would have gone as one man without doubt 
after Zagloba to Chenstohova. 

Therefore both Skshetuskis were frightened at this 
undertaking, and Volodyovski cried, — 

** Barely has a small army been formed by the greatest 
labor of the voevoda, barely is there a little power for the 
defence of the Commonwealth, and you wish with disorder 
to break up the squadrons, bring them to disobedience. 
Radzivill would pay much for such counsel, for it is water 
to his mill. Is it not a shame for you to speak of such a 
deed ? " 

" I 'm a scoundrel if I don't do it ! " said Zagloba. 

" Uncle will do it ! " said Kovalski. 

'* Silence, you horseskuU ! " roared out Pan Michael. 

Pan Roh stared, shut his mouth, and straightened himself 
at once. 

Then Volodyovski turned to Zagloba : " And I am a 
scoundrel if one man of my squadron goes with you ; you 


wish to ruin the army, and I tell you that I will fall first 
upon your volunteers.'' 

" O Pagan, faithless Turk ! " said Zagloba. " How is 
that ? you would attack knights of the Most Holy Lady ? 
Are you ready ? Well, I know you ! Do you think, gen- 
tlemen, that it is a question with him of an army or disci- 
pline ? No I he sniffs Panna Billeviuh behind the walls of 
Tykotsin. For a private question, for your own wishes 
you would not hesitate to desert the best cause. You would 
l>e glad to Hutter around a maiden, to stand on one foot, 
then the other, and display yourself. But nothing will 
come of this ! My head for it, that better than you are 
running after her, even that same Kmita, for even he is no 
worse than you." 

Volodyovski looked at those present, taking them to wit- 
ness what injustice was done him ; then he frowned. They 
thought he would burst out in auger, but because he had 
been drinking, he fell all at once into tenderness. 

" This is my reward," said he. " From the years of a 
stripling I have served the country ; I have not put the 
sabre out of my hand! I have neither cottage, wife, nor 
children ; my head is as lone as a lance-point. The most 
honorable think of themselves, but I have no rewards save 
wounds in the flesh ; nay, I am accused of selfishness, al- 
most held a traitor." 

Tears began to drop on his yellow mustaches. Zagloba 
softened in a moment, and throwing open his arms, cried, — 

" Pan Michael, I have done you cruel injustice ! I should 
be given to the hangman for having belittled such a tried 
friend ! " 

Then falling into mutual embraces, they began to kiss 
each other j they drank more to good understanding, and 
when sorrow had gone considerably out of his heart, Volo- 
dyovski said, — 

*' But you will not ruin the army, bring disobedience, and 
give an evil example ? " 

" I will not, Pan Michael, I will not for your sake." 

" Grod grant us to take Tykotsin ; whose affair is it what 
I seek behind the walls of the fortress ? Why should any 
man jeer at me ? " 

Struck by that question, Zagloba began to put the ends 
of his mustaches in his mouth and gnaw them ; at last he 
said: "Pan Michael, I love you as the apple of my eye, 
but drive that Panna Billevich out of your head." 


" Why ? " asked Pan Michael, with astonishment. 

" She is beautiful, assetitior (I agree)," answered Zagloba, 
** but she is distinguished in person, and there is no propor- 
tion whatever between you. You might sit on her shoul- 
der, like a canary-bird, and peck sugar out of her mouth. 
She might carry you like a falcon on her glove, and let you 
off against every enemy, for though you are little you are 
venomous like a hornet." 

" Well, have you begun ? " asked Volodyovski. 

"If I have begun, then let me finish. There is one 
woman as if created for you, and she is precisely that 
kernel — What is her name ? That one whom Podbipi- 
enta was to marry ? " 

" Anusia Borzobogati ! " cried Pan Yan. " She is indeed 
an old love of Michael's." 

" A regular grain of buckwheat, but a pretty little rogue ; 
just like a doll," said Zagloba, smacking his lips. 

Volodyovski began to sigh, and to repeat time after time 
what he always repeated when mention was made of 
Anusia: "What is happening to the poor girl? Oh, if 
she could only be found!" 

" You would not let her out of your hands, for, God bless 
me, I have not seen in ray life any man so given to falling 
in love. You ought to have been born a rooster, scratch 
the sweepings in a house-yard, and cry, * Co, co, co,' at the 

" Anusia I Anusia ! " repeated Pan Michael. " If God 
would send her to me — But perhaps she is not in the 
world, or perhaps she is married — " 

" How could she be ? She was a green turnip when I saw 
her, and afterward, even if she ripened, she may still be in 
the maiden state. After such a man as Podbipienta she 
could not take any common fellow. Besides, in these times 
of war few are thinking of marriage." 

" You did not know her well," answered Pan Michael. 
" She was wonderfully honest ; but she had such a nature 
that she let no man pass without piercing his heart. The 
Lord God created her thus. She did not miss even men of 
lower station ; for example. Princess Griselda's physician, 
that Italian, who was desperately in love with her. Maybe 
she has married him and he has taken her beyond the 

" Don't talk such nonsense, Michael ! " cried Zagloba, with 
indignation. " A doctor, a doctor, — that the daughter of a 


noble of honorable blood should marry a man of such lovr 
estate ! I have already said that that is impossible." 

"I was angry with her myself, for I thought, 'This is 
without limit; soon she will be turning the heads of 
attorneys.' " 

" I prophesy that you will see her yet," aaid Zagloba. 

i'urther conversation was interrupted by the entrance of 
Pan Tokarzevich, who had served formerly with Radzivill, 
but after the treason of the hetman, left him, in company 
with others, and wa^ now standard-bearer in Oskyerko's 

" Colonel," said he to Volodyovaki, " we are to explode 
a petard." 

" Is Pan Oskyerko ready ? " 

"He was ready at midday, and he is not willing to 
wait, for the night promises to be dark." 

" That is well ; we will go to sue. I will order the men 
to be ready with muskets, so that the besieged may not 
make a sortie. Will Pan Oskyerko himself explode the 
petard ? " 

" He will — in his own person. A crowd of volunteers 
go with him." 

" And I will go ! " said Volodyovski. 

" And we ! " cried Pan Yan and Pan Stanislav. 

"Oh, 'tis a pity that old eyes cannot see in the dark," 
said Zagloba, " for of a surety I should not let you go alone. 
But what is to be done ? When dusk comes 1 cannot draw 
my sword. In the daytime, in the daytime, in the sun- 
light, then the old man likes to move to the field. Give 
me the strongest of the Swedes, if at midday." 

" But I will go," said, after some thought, the tenant of 
Vansosh, " When they blow up the gate the troops will 
spring to the storm in a crowd, and in the castle there may 
be great wealth in plate and in jewels." 

All went out, for it was now growing dark ; in the quar- 
ters Zagloba alone remained. He listened for a while lo 
the snow squeaking under tlie steps of the departing men, 
then began to raise one after another the decanters, and 
look through them at the light b\irning in the chimney to 
see if there was something yet in any of them. 

The others marched toward the castle in dapkness and 
wind, which rose from the north and blew with increasing 
force, howling, storming, bringing with it clouds of snow 
broken fine. 



" A good night to explode a petard ! " said Volodyovski. 

** But also for a sortie," answered Pan Yan. " We must 
keep a watchful eye and ready muskets." 

"God grant," said Pan Tokarzevich, "that at Chensto- 
hova there is a still greater storm. It is always warmer 
for our men behind the walls. But may the Swedes freeze 
there on guard, may they freeze ! " 

" A terrible night I " said Pan Stanislav ; " do you hear, 
gentlemen, how it howls, as if Tartars were rushing through 
the air to attack ? " 

" Or as if devils were singing a requiem for Radzivill ! " 
said Volodyovski. 



But a few days subbequeiit tlic great traitor in the castlo 
was looking at the darkueas coming down on the snowy 
shroud!) and listening to the huwling of the wind. 

The lamp of his life was burning out slowly. At noon 
of that day he was still walking around and looking thi-ough 
the battlements, at the tents and the wooden huts of Sapy- 
eha's troops ; but two hours later he grew so ill that they 
had to carry him to his chambers. 

From those times at Kyedani in which he had striven for 
a crown, he had changed beyond recognition. The hair 
on his head had grown white, around his eyes red rings 
liad formed, his face was swollen and flabby, therefore it 
.sL'cmed still more enormous, but it was the face of a half 
corpse, marked with blue spots and terrible through its ex- 
pression of hellish suffering. 

And still, tliougb his life could be measured by hours, hfl 
liad lived too long, for not only had he outlived faith in 
liimself and his fortunate star, faith in his own hopes and 
plans, but his fall was so deep that when he looked at the 
bottom of that precipice to which he was rolling, he would 
not believe himself. Everything had deceived him : events, 
calculations, allies. He, for whom it was not enough to be 
tlie mightiest lord in Poland, a prince of the Roimui Em- 
pire, grand hetman, and voevoda of Vilna; he, for whom 
all Lithuania was less than what he desired and was lusting 
after, was confined in one narrow, small castle in which 
either Death or Captivity was waiting for him. And he 
watched the dooi' evei-y day to see which of these two terri- 
ble goddesses would enter first to take his soul or his more 
than half-ruined body. 

Of his lands, of his estates and starostaships, it was pos- 
:iible not long before to mark out a vassal kingdom ; now he 
IS not master even of the walls of Tykotsin. 

Barely a few months before he was treatiug with neigh- 
boring kings ; to-day one Swedish captain obeys his com- 
mands with impatience and contempt, and dares to bend 
him to his will. 


When his troops left him, when from a lord and a mag- 
nate who made the whole country tremble, he became a 
powerless pauper who needed roscue and assistance him- 
self, Karl Gustav despised him. He would have raised to 
the skies a mighty <ally, but he tuwied with haughtiness 
from the supplicant. 

Like Kostka Napyerski, the foot-pad, besieged on a time 
in Chorshtyn, is he, Radzivill, besieged now in Tykotsin. 
And who is besieging him ? Sapyeha, his greatest per- 
sonal enemy. When they capture him they will drag him 
to justice in worse fashion tlian a robber, as a traitor. 

His kinsmen have deserted him, his friends, his connec- 
tions. Armies have plundered his property, his treasures 
and riches are blown into mist, and that lord, that prince, 
who once upon a time astonished the court of France and 
dazzled it with his luxury, he who at feasts received thou- 
sands of nobles, who maintained tens of thc)usands of his 
own troops, whom he fed and sup^Kirted, had not now 
wherewith to nourish his own failing strength; and ter- 
rible to relate, he, Radzivill, in the last moments of his 
life, almost at the hour of his death, wtis hungry ! 

In the castle there had long been a lack of provi- 
sions ; from the scant remaining supplies the Swedish com- 
mander dealt stingy rations, and the prince would^ not 
beg of him. 

If only the fever which was devouring his strength had 
deprived him of consciousness; but it had not. His breast 
rose with increasing heaviness, his breath turned into a 
rattle, his swollen feet and hands were freezing, but his 
mind, omitting monitMits of delirium, omitting the terrible 
visions and nightmares which passed before his eyes, re- 
mained for the greater part of the time clear. And that 
prince saw his whole fall, all his want, all his misery and 
humiliation ; that former warrior-victor saw all his defeat, 
and his sufferings were so immense that they could be 
equalled only by his sins. 

Besides, as the Furies tormented Orestes, so was he tor- 
mented by reproaches of conscience, and in no part of the 
world was there a sanctuary to which he could flee from 
them. They tormented him in the day, they tormented him 
at night, in the lield, under the roof ; pride could not with- 
stand them nor repulse them. The deeper his fall, the more 
fiercely they lashed him. And there were moments in which 
he tore his own breast. When enemies came against his 


couutry from every side, when foreign nations grieved over 
its hapless condition, its sufferings and bloodshed, he, the 
grand hetnian, instead of moving to the field, instead of 
sacrificing the last drop of his blood, instead of astonishing 
the world like Leonidas or Themistocles, instead of pawning 
his last coat like Sapyeha, made a treaty with enemies 
against the mother, raised a sacrilegious hand against his 
own king, and imbrued it in blood near and dear to him. He 
liad done all this, and now he is at the limit not only of in- 
liimy, but of life, close to his reckoning, there beyond. 
W' hat is awaiting him ? 

The hair rose on his head when he thought of that. For 
he had raised liis hand against his country, he had appeared 
to himst4f great in relation to that country, and now all had 
changed. Now he had become small, and the Commonwealtli, 
rising from dust and blood, appeared to him something great 
and continually greater, invested with a mysterious terror, 
lull of a sacred majesty, awful. And she grew, increased 
continually in his eyes, and became more and more gigantic. 
In presence of her he felt himself dust as prince and as 
hetman, as Kadzivill. He could not understand what that 
was. Some unknown waves were rising around him, flowing 
toward him, with roaring, with thunder, flowing ever nearer, 
rising more terribly, and he understood that he must be 
drowned in that immensity, hundreds such as he would be 
drowned. Hut why had he not seen this awfulness and this 
mysterious power at first; why had he, nuid man, rushed 
against it ? When these ideas roared in his head, fear seized 
him in presence of that mother, in presence of that Common- 
wealth ; for he did not recognize her features, which formerly 
were so kind and so mild. 

The spirit was breaking within him, and terror dwelt in 
his breast. At moments he thought that another country 
altogether, another people, were around him. Through the 
besieged walls came news of everything that men were doing 
in the invaded Commonwealth, and marvellous and aston- 
ishing things were they doing. ' A war of life or death 
against the Swedes and traitors had begun, all the more 
terrible in that it had not been foreseen by any man. 
The Commonwealth had begun to punish. There was 
something in this of the anger of God for the insult to 

When through the walls of Tykotsin came news of the 
siege of Chenstohova, Radzivill, a Calvinist, was frightened ; 


and fright did not leave his soul from that day, for then he 
perceived for the first time those mysterious waves which, 
after they had risen, were to swallow the Swedes and him ; 
then the invasion of the Swedes seemed not an invasion, 
but a sacrilege, and the punishment of it inevitable. Then 
for the first time the veil dropped from his eyes, and he 
saw the changed face of the Commonwealth, no longer a 
mother, but a punishing queen. 

All who had remained true to her and served with heart 
and soul, rose and grew greater and greater ; whoso sinned 
against her went down. " And therefore it is not free to 
any one to think,'* said the prince to himself, " of his own 
elevation, or that of his family, but he must sacrifice life, 
strength, and love to her." 

But for him it was now too late ; he had nothing to sacri- 
fice ; he had no future before him save that beyond the 
grave, at sight of which he shuddered. 

From the time of besieging Chenstohova, when one terri- 
ble cry was torn from the breast of an immense country, 
when as if by a miracle there was found in it a cei-tain won- 
derful, hitherto unknown and not understood power, when 
you would have said that a mysterious hand from beyond 
this world rose in its defence, a new doubt gnawed into 
the soul of the prince, and he could not free himself from 
the terrible thought that God stood with that cause and 
that faith. 

And when such thoughts roared in his head he doubted 
his own faith, and then his despair passed even the measure 
of his sins. Temporal fall, spiritual fall, darkness, nothing- 
ness, — behold to what he had come, what he had gained by 
serving self. 

And still at the beginning of the expedition from Kye- 
dani against Podlyasye he was full of hope. It is true that 
Sapyeha, a leader inferior to him beyond comparison, had 
defeated him in the field, and the rest of the squadrons left 
him, but he strengthened himself with the thought that any 
day Boguslav might come with assistance. That young 
eagle of the Radzivills would fly to him at the head of Prus- 
sian Lutheran legions, who would not pass over to the pa- 
pists like the Lithuanian squadrons ; and at once he would 
bend Sapyeha in two, scatter his forces, scatter the confed- 
erates, and putting themselves on the corpse of Lithuania, 
like two lions on the carcass of a deer, with roaring alone 
would terrify all who might wish to tear it away from them. 


But time passed ; the forces of Prince Yanush melted ; 
even the foreign regiments went over to the terrible Sa- 
pyeha; days passed, weeks, months, but Boguslav came 

At last the siege of Tykotsin began. 

The Swedes, a handful of whom remained with Yanusli, 
defended themselves heroically ; for, stained already w^ith 
terrible cruelty, they saw that even surrender would not 
guard them from the vengeful hands of the Lithuanians. 
The prince in the beginning of the siege had still the hope 
that at the last moment, perhaps, the King of Sweden 
himself would move to his aid, and perliaps Pan Konyet- 
si)olski, who at the liead of six thousand cavalry was with 
Karl Gustav. But his hope was vain. Xo one gave him a 
thought, no one came with assistance. 

** Oh, Boguslav ! Boguslav ! " repeated the prince, walking 
through the chambers of Tykotsin ; " if you will not save a 
cousin, save at least a Iladzivili ! " 

At last in his final despair Prince Yanush resolved on 
taking a step at which his pride revolted fearfully ; that was 
to implore Prince Michael Radzivill of Nyesvyej for rescue. 
This letter, however, was intercepted on the road by Sapye- 
ha's men ; but the voevoda of Vityebsk sent to Yanush in 
answer a letter which he had himself received from Prince 
Michael a week before. 

Prince Yanush found in it the following passage: — 

*'If news has come to you, gracious lord, that I intend to go 
with succor to my relative, the voevoda of Vihia, believe it not, 
for I hoM only with those who endure in loyalty to the country and 
our kiujr, and who desire to restore the former liberties of this most 
ilhistrious Commonwealth. This course will not, as I think, bring 
nie to protect traitors from just and proper punishment. Boguslav 
too will not come, for, as 1 hear, the elector prefers to think of 
himself, and does not wish to divide his forces; and (laod attintl 
(as to) Konyetspolski, since he will pay court to Prince Yanush \s 
widow, should she become one, it is to his profit that the prince 
voevoda be destroyed with all speed." 

This letter, addressed to Sapyeha, stripi)ed the unfortu- 
nate Yanush of the remnant of his hope, and nothing was 
left him but to wait for the accomplishment of his destiny. 

The siege was hastening to its close. 

News of the departure of Sapyeha passed through the 
wall almost that moment; but the hope that in consequence 

208 THE i)p:luge. 

of his departure hostile steps would be abandoned were of 
short duration, for in the infantry regiments an unusual 
movement was observable. Still some days passed quietly 
enough, since the plan of blowing up the gate with a petard 
resulted in nothing ; but December 31 came, on which only 
the approaching night might incommode the besiegers, 
for evidently they were preparing something against the 
castle, at least a new attack of cannon on the weakened 

The day was drawing to a close. The prince was lying 
in the so-called " Corner " hall situated in the western part 
of the castle. In an enormous fireplace were burning whole 
logs of pine wood which cast a lively light on the white and 
rather empty walls. The prince was lying on his back on a 
Turkish sofa, pushed out purposely into the middle of the 
room, so that the warmth of the blaze might reach it. 
Nearer to the fireplace, a little in the shade, slept a page, 
on a carpet; near the prince were sitting, slumbering in 
arm-chairs, Pani Yakimovich, formerly chief lady-in-waiting 
at Kyedani, another page, a physician, also the prince's 
astrologer, and Kharlamp. 

Kharlamp had not left the prince, though he was almost 
the only one of his former officers who had remained. 
That was a bitter service, for the heart and soul of the officer 
were outside the walls of Tykotsin, in the camp of Sapyeha; 
still he remained faithful at the side of his old leader. From 
hunger and watching the poor fellow had grown as thin as 
a skeleton. Of his face there remained but the nose, which 
now seemed still greater, and mustaches like bushes. He 
was clothed in complete armor, breastplate, shoulder-pieces, 
and morion, with a wire cape which came down to his shoul- 
ders. His cuirass was battered, for he had just returned 
from the walls, to which he had gone to make observations 
a little while before, and on which he sought death every 
day. He was slumbering at the moment from weariness, 
though there was a terrible rattling in the prince's breast as 
if he had begun to die, and though the wind howled and 
whistled outside. 

Suddenly short quivering began to shake the gigantic body 
of Radzivill, and the rattling ceased. Those who were 
around him woke at once and looked quickly, first at him 
and then at one another. But he said, — 

" It is as if something had gone out of my breast j I feel 


He turned his head a little, looked carefully toward the 
door, at last he said, " Kharlamp ! " 

" At the service of your highness ! " 

" What does Stahovich want here ? " 

The legs began to tremble under poor Kharlamp, for un- 
terrified as he was in battle he was superstitious in the same 
degree ; therefore he looked around quickly, and said in a 
stifled voice, — 

"Stahovich is not here; your highness gave orders to 
shoot him at Kyedani." 

The prince closed his eyes and answered not a word. 

For a time there was nothing to be heard save the doleful 
and continuous howling of the wind. 

" The weeping of people is heard in that wind," said the 
prince, again opening his eyes in perfect consciousness. 
" But I did not bring in the Swedes ; it was Radzeyovski." 

When no one gave answer, he said after a short time, — 

" He is most to blame, he is most to blame, he is most to 

And a species of consolation entered his breast, as if the 
remembrance rejoiced him that there was some one more 
guilty than he. 

Soon, however, more grievous thoughts must have come 
to his head, for his face grew dark, and he repeated a number 
of times, — 

" Jesus ! Jesus ! Jesus ! " 

And again choking attacked him ; a rattling began in hia 
throat more terrible than before. Meanwhile from without 
came the sound of musketry, at first infrequent, then more 
frequent ; but amidst the drifting of the snow and the howl- 
ing of the whirlwind they did not sound too loudly, and it 
might have been thought that that was some continual 
knocking at the gate. 

" They are fighting ! " said the prince's physician. 

" As usual ! " answered Kharlamp. " People are freezing 
in the snow-drifts, and they wish to fight to grow warm." 

" This is the sixth day of the whirlwind and the snow," 
answered the doctor. "Great changes will come in the 
kingdom, for this is an unheard of thing." 

" God grant It ! " said Kharlamp. " It cannot be worse." 

Further conversation was interrupted by the prince, to 
whom a new relief had come. 

" Kharlamp ! " 

" At the service of your highness ! " 

VOL. II. — 14 


" Does it seem to me so from weakness, or did Oskyerko 
try to blow up the gate with a i>etard two days since ? " 

"He tried, your highness; but the Swedes seized the 
petards and wounded him slightly, and Sapyeha's men were 

" If wounded slightly, then ho will try again. But what 
day is it ? " 

" The last day of December, your highness." 

" God be merciful to my soul ! I shall not live to the 
New Year. Long ago it was foretold me that every fifth 
year death is near me." 

" God is kind, your highness." 

" God is with Sapyeha," said the prince, gloomily. 

All at once he looked around and said : ** Cold comes to 
me from it. I do not see it, but 1 feel that it is here." 

" What is that, your highness ? " 

« Death I " 

** In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost ! " 

A moment of silence followed ; nothing was heard but the 
whispered " Our Father," repeated by Pani Yakimovieh. 

"Tell me," said the prince, with a broken yoice, "do you 
believe that outside of your faith no one can be saved ?" 

" Even in the moment of death it is possible to renounce 
errors," said Kharlamp. 

The sound of shots had become at that moment more fre- 
quent. The thunder of cannon began to shake the window- 
panes, which answered each report with a plaintive sound. 

The prince listened a certain time calmly, then rose 
slightly on the pillow ; his eyes began slowly to widen, 
hia pupils to glitter. He sat up; for a moment he held 
his head with his hand, then cried suddenly, as if in 
bewilderment, — 

" Boguslav ! Boguslav ! Boguslav ! " 

Kharlamp ran out of the room like a madman. 

The whole castle trembled and quivered from the thun- 
der of cannon. 

All at once tliere was heard the cry of several thousand 
voices ; tlien something was torn with a ghastly smashing 
of walls, so that brands and coals from the chimney were 
scattered on the floor. At the same time Kharlamp rushed 
into the chamber. 

" Sapyeha's men have blown up the gate ! " cried he. 
" The Swedes have fled to tlio tower ! The enemy is here I 
Your highness — " 


Further words died on his lips. Radzivill was sitting on 
the sofa with eyes starting out ; with open lips he was 
gulping the air, his teeth bared like those of a dog when he 
snarls ; he tore with his hands the sofa on which he was sit- 
ting, and gazing with terror into the depth of the chamber, 
cried, or rather gave out hoarse rattles between one breath 
and another, — 

" It was Radzeyovski — Not 1 — Save me ! — What do 
you want ? Take the crown ! — It was Radzeyovski — Save 
me, people ! Jesus ! Jesus ! Mary ! " 

These were the last words of Radzivill. 

Then a terrible coughing seized him ; his eyes came out 
in still more ghastly fashion from their sockets ; he stret(died 
himself out, fell on his back, and remained motionless. 

" He is dead ! " said the doctor. 

" He cried Mary, though a Calvinist, you have heard ! " 
saitl Paul Yakimovich. 

" Throw wood on the fire ! " said Kharlamp to the terri- 
fied pages. 

He drew near to the corpse, closed the eyelids; then he 
took from his own armor a gilded image of the Mother of 
God which he wore on a chain, and placing the hands of 
Radzivill together on his breast, he put the image between 
the dead fingers. 

The light of the fire was reflected from the golden ground 
of the image, and that reflection fell upon the face of the 
voevoda and made it cheerful so that never had it seemed 
so calm. 

Kharlamp sat at the side of the body, and resting his 
elbows on his knees, hid his fiice in his hands. 

The silence was broken only by the sound of shots. 

All at once something terrible took place. First of all 
was a flash of awful brightness ; the whole world seemed 
turned into fire, and at the same time there was given forth 
such a sound as if the earth had fallen from under the cas- 
tle. The walls tottered ; the ceilings cracked with a terri- 
ble noise ; all the windows tumbled in on the floor, and the 
panes were broken into hundreds of fragments. Through 
the empty openings of the windows that moment clouds of 
snow drifted in, and the whirlwind began to howl gloomily 
in the corners of the chamber. 

All the people present fell to the floor on their faces, 
speechless from terror. 

Kharlamp rose first^ and looked directly on the corpse of 


the voevoda; the corpse was lying in calmness, but the 
gilded image had slipned a little in the hands. 

Kharlamp recovered' his breath. At first he felt certain 
that that was an army of Satans who had broken into the 
chamber for the body of the prince. 

"The word has become flesh!" said he. "The Swedes 
must have blown up the tower and themselves." 

But from without there came no sound. Evidently tlie 
troops of Sapyeha were standing in dumb wonder, or per- 
haps in fear that the whole castle was mined, and that there 
would be explosion after explosion. 

" Put wood on the fire ! " said Kharlamp to the pages. 

Again the room was gleaming with a bright, quivering 
light. Round about a deathlike stillness continued ; but the 
fire hissed, the whirlwind howled, and the snow rolled each 
moment more densely through the window openings. 

At last confused voices were heard, then the clatter of 
spurs and the tramp of many feet ; the door of the chamber 
was opened wide, and soldiers rushed in. 

It was bright from the naked sabres, and more and more 
figures of knights in helmets, caps, and kolpaks crowded 
through the door. Many were bearing lanterns in their 
hands, and they held them to the light, advancing carefully, 
though it was light in the room from the fire as well. 

At last there sprang forth from the crowd a little knight 
all in enamelled armor, and cried, — 

" Where is the voevoda of Vilna ? " 

" Here ! " said Kharlamp, pointing to the body lying on 
the sofa. 

Volodyovski looked at him, and said, — 

" He Is not living ! " 

" He is not living, he is not living ! " went from mouth to 

" The traitor, the betrayer is not living ! " 

"So it is," said Kharlamp, gloomily. "But if you dis- 
honor his body and bear it apart with sabres, you will do 
ill, for before his end he called on the Most Holy Lady, 
and he holds Her image in his hand." 

These words made a deep impression. The shouts were 
hushed. Then the soldiers began to approach, to go around 
the sofa, and look at the dead man. Those who had lan- 
terns turned the light of them on his eyes ; and he lay there, 
gigantic, gloomy, on his face the majesty of a hetman and 
the cold dignity of death. 


The soldiers came one after another, and among them 
the officers ; therefore Stankyevich approached, the two 
Skshetuskis, Horotkyevich, Yakub Kmita, Oskyerko, and 
Pan Zagloba. 

" It is true ! " said Zagloba, in a low voice, as if he feared 
to rouse the prince. " He holds in his hands the Most Holy 
Lady, and the shining from Her falls on his face." 

When he said this he removed his cap. That instant 
all the others bared their heads. A moment of silence 
filled with reverence followed, which was broken at last 
by Volodyovski. 

" Ah ! " said he, " he is before the judgment of God, and 
people have nothing to do with him." Here he turned to 
Kharlamp : " But you, unfortunate, why did you for his 
sake leave your country and king?" 

" Give him this way ! " called a number of voices at 

Then Kharlamp rose, and taking off his sabre threw it 
with a clatter on the floor, and said, — 

" Here 1 am, cut me to pieces ! I did not leave him with 
you, when he was powerful as a king, and afterward it was 
not proper to leave him when he was in misery and no one 
stayed with him. I have not grown fat in his service ; for 
three days I have had nothing in my mouth, and the legs 
are bending under me. But here I am, cut me to pieces ! 
for I confess furthermore [here Kharlamp's voice trem- 
bled] that I loved him." 

Wnen he had said this he tottered and would have fallen ; 
but Zagloba opened his arms to him, caught him, supported 
him, and cried, — 

" By the living God ! Give the man food and drink ! " 

That touched all to the heart ; therefore they took Khar- 
lamp by the arms and led him out of the chamber at once. 
Then the soldiei-s began to leave it one after another, mak- 
ing the sign of the cross with devotion. 

On the road to their quarters Zagloba was meditating over 
something. He stopped, coughed, then pulled Volodyovski 
by the skirt. " Pan Michael," said he. 

" Well, what ? " 

" My anger against Radzivill is passed ; a dead man is a 
dead man ! I forgive him from my heart for having made 
an attempt on my life." 

" He is l)efore the tribunal of heaven," said Volodyovski. 

" That 's it, that 's it ! H'm, if It would help him I would 



even give for a Mass, since it seems to me that he has an 
awfully small chance up there." 

** God is merciful ! " 

** As to being merciful, he is merciful j still the Lord can- 
not look without abhorrence on heretics. And Radzivill 
was not only a heretic, but a traitor. There is where the 
trouble is ! " 

Here Zagloba shook his liead and lM*gan t^ look upward. 

" I am afraid," said he, after a while, " that some of those 
Swedes who blew themselves up will fall on my iiead j that 
they will not be received there in heaven is certtiin." 

" They were good men," said Pan Michael, witli recogni- 
tion; "they preferred death to surrender, there are few 
such soldiers in the world." 

All at once Volodyovski halted : '* Panna Billevich was 
not in the castle," said he. 

" But how do you know ? " 

" I asked those pages. Boguslav took her to Taurogi." 

" El ! " said Zagloba, *' that was as if to confide a kid to a 
wolf. But it is not your affair ; your predestined is that 
kernel ! " 



LvoKF from the moment of the king's arrival was turned 

into a- real capital of the Commonwealth. Together with the 

king came the greater part of the bishops from the whole 

country and all those lay senators who had not served the 

enemy. The calls already issued summoned also to arms the 

nobles of Rus and of the remoter adjoining provinces, they 

came in numbers and armed with the greater ease because 

the Swedes had not been in those regions. Eyes were 

opened and iiearts rose at sight of this general militia, for \t 

reminded one in nothing of tliat of Great Poland, which at 

Uistsle offered such weak opposition to tlie enemy. On the 

contrary, in this case marched a warlike and terrible nobility, 

reared from childhood on horseback and in the field, amidst 

continual attacks of wild Tartars, accustomed to bloodshed 

and burning, l)etter masters of the sabre tlian of Latin. 

These nobles were in fresh training yet from Hmelnitski's 

uprising, which lasted seven years without interval, so that 

there was not a man among them who was not as many times 

in tire as he had years of life. New swarms of these were 

arriving continually in Lvoff : some had marched from the 

Byeshchadi full of precipices, others from the Pruth, tlie 

Dniester, and tlie Seret; some lived on the steep banks of 

the Dniester, some on the wide-spreading Bug ; some on the 

Sinyuha had not been destroyed from the face of the earth 

by peasant incursions ; some had been left on the Tai^tav 

boundaries ; — all these hurried at the call of the king to 

the city of the Lion,' some to march thence against an 

enemy as yet unknown. The nobles came in from Volynia 

and from more distant provinces, such hatretl was kindled 

in all souls by the terrible tidings that the enemy had raised 

sacrilegious hands on the Patroness of the Commonwealth 

in Chenstohova. 

And the Cossacks dared not raise obstacles, for the hearts 
were moved in the most hardened, and besides, they were 
forced by the Tartars to beat with the forehead to the king, 

1 Lvofif. 


and to renew for the hundredth time their oath of loyalty. 
A Tartar embassy, dangerous to the enemies of the king, 
was in Lvoff under the leadership of Suba Gazi Bey, offer- 
ing, in the name of the Khan, a horde a hundred thousand 
strong to assist the Commonwealth ; of these forty thousand 
from near Kamenyets could take the held at once. 

Besides the Tartar embassy a legation had come from Tran- 
sylvania to carry through negotiations begun with Rakotsy 
concerning succession to the throne. The ambassador of the 
emperor was present; so was the papal nuncio, who had 
come with the king. Every day deputations arrived from the 
armies of the kingdom and Lithuania, from provinces and 
lands, with declarations of loyalty, and a wish to defend to 
the death the invaded country. 

The fortunes of the king increased ; the Commonwealth, 
crushed altogether so recently, was rising before the eyes 
of all to the wonder of ages and nations. The souls of men 
were inflamed with thirst for war and retaliation, and at 
the same time they grew strong. And as in spring-time a 
warm generous rain melts the snow, so mighty hope melted 
doubt. Not only did they wish for victory, but they be- 
lieved in it. New and favorable tidings came in continu- 
ally ; though often untrue, they passed from mouth to mouth. 
Time after time men told now of castles recovered, now of 
battles in which unknown regiments under leaders hitherto 
unknown had crushed the Swedes, now of terrible clouds 
of peasants sweeping along, like locusts, against the enemy. 
The name of Stefan Charnyetski was more and more fre- 
quent on every lip. 

The details In these tidings were often untrue, but taken 
together they reflected as a mirror what was being done in 
the whole country. 

But in Lvoff reigned as it were a continual holiday. 
When the king came the city greeted him solemnly, the 
clergy of the three rites, the councillors of the city, the 
merchants, the guilds. On the squares and streets, wher- 
ever an eye was cast, banners, white, sapphire, purple, and 
gilded, were waving. The Lvoff people raised proudly their 
golden lion on a blue field, recalling with self-praise tlu^ 
scarcely passed Cossack and Tartar attacks. 

At every appearance of the king a shout was raised 
among the crowds, and crowds were never lacking. 

The population doubled in recent days. Besides senators 
and bishops, besides nobles, flowed in throngs of peasants 


also, for the news had spread that the king intended to 
improve their condition. Therefore rustic coats and horse- 
blankets were mingled with the yellow coats of the towns- 
people. The mercantile Armenians with their swarthy- 
faces put up booths lor merchandise and arms which the 
assembled nobles bought willingly. 

There were many Tartars also with the embassy ; there 
were Hungarians, Wallachians, and Austrians, — a multitude 
of people, a multitude of troops, a multitude of different 
kinds of faces, many strange garments in colors brilliant 
and varied, troops of court servants, hence gigantic grooms, 
haiduks, janissaries, red Cossacks, messengers in foreign 

The streets were filled from morning till evening with 
the noise of men, now passing squadrons of a quota, now 
divisions of mounted nobles, the cries of command, the 
shining of armor and naked sabres, the neighing of horses, 
the rumble of cannon, and songs full of threatening aud 
curses for the Swedes. 

The bells in the churches, Polish, Russian, and Arme- 
nian, were tolling continually, announcing to all that the 
king was in the city, and that Lvoff, to its eternal praise, 
was the first of the capitals that had received the king, the 

They beat to him with the forehead; wherever he ap- 
peared caps flew upward, and shouts of ** Vivat ! " shook the 
air. They beat with the forehead also before the carriages 
of bishops, who through the windows blessed the assembled 
throngs ; they bowed to and applauded senators, honoring 
in them loyalty to the king and country. 

So the whole city was seething. At night they even 
burned on the square piles of wood, at which in spite of 
cold and frost those men were enccamped who could not find 
lodgings because of the excessive multitude. 

The king spent whole days in consultation with senators. 
Audience was given to foreign embassies, to deputations 
from provinces and troops; methods of tilling the empty 
treasury with money were considered ; all means were used 
to rouse war wherever it had not flamed up already. 

Couriers were flying to the most important towns in every 
part of the Commonwealth, to distant Prussia, to sacred 
J mud, to Tyshovtsi, to the lietmans, to Sapyeha, who after 
the storming of Tykotsin took his army to the south with 
forced marches ; couriers went also to Konyetspolski, who 


was still with the Swedes. Where it was needful money 
was sent; the slothful were roused with manifestoes. 

The king recognized, consecrated, and confirmed the con- 
federation of Tyshovtsi and joined it himself; taking the 
direction of all affairs into his untiring hands, he labored 
from morning till night, esteeming the Commonwealth more 
than his own rest, his own health. 

But this was not the limit of his efforts ; for he had deter- 
mined to conclude in his own name and the name of the 
estates a league such that no earthly power could over- 
come, — a league which in future might serve to reform 
the Commonwealth. 

The moment for this had come at last. 

The secret must have escaped from the senators to the 
nobles, and from the nobles to the peasants, for since morn- 
ing it had been said that at the hour of services something 
important would happen, — that the king would make some 
solemn vow, concerning, as was said, the condition of the 
peasants and a confederation with heaven. There were per- 
sons, however, who asserted that these were incredible 
things, without an example in history ; but curiosity was 
excited, and everywhere something was looked tor. 

The day was frosty, clear ; tiny flakes of snow were flying 
through the air, glittering like sparks. The land infantry 
of Lvoff and the district of Jidache, in blue half shubas, 
hemmed with gold, and half a Hungarian regiment were 
drawn out in a long line before the cathedral, holding their 
muskets at their feet in front of them ; officers passed up 
and down with staffs in their hands. Between these two 
lines a many-colored throng flowed into the church, like a 
river. In front nobles and knights, after them the senate 
of the city, with gilded chains on their necks, and tapers in 
their hands. They were led by the mayor, a physician noted 
throughout the whole province ; he was dressed in a black 
velvet toga, and wore a calotte. After the senate went mer- 
chants, and among them many Armenians with green and 
gold skull-caps on their heads, and wearing roomy Eastern 
gowns. These, though belonging to a siH^cial rite, went 
with the others to represent the estate. After the mer- 
chants came, with their banners, the guilds, such as butchers, 
bakers, tailors, goldsmiths, confectioners, embroiderers, linen- 
drapers, tanners, mead-boilers, and a number of others yet ; 
from each company representatives went with their own 
banner, which was borne by a man the most distinguished 


of all for beauty. Then came various brotherhoods and the 
common throng in coats, in sheepskins, in horse-blankets, in 
homespun ; dwellers in the suburbs, peasants. Admittance 
was barred to no one till the church was packed closely with 
people of all ranks and both sexes. 

At last carriages began to arrive ; but they avoided the 
main door, for the king, the bishops, and the dignitaries 
had a special entrance nearer the high altar. Every moment 
the troops presented arms ; at last the soldiers dropped their 
muskets to their feet, and blew on their chilled liands, 
throwing out clouds of steam from their breasts. 

The king came with the nuncio, Vidon ; then arrived the 
archbishop of Gnyezno and the bishop. Prince Chartoryski ; 
next appeared the bishop of Cracow, the archbishop of 
Lvotf, the grand chancellor of the kingdom, many voevodas 
and castellans. All these vanished througli the side door ; 
and their carriages, retinues, equerries, and attendants of 
every description formed as it were a new army, standing 
at the side of the cathedral. 

Mass was celebrated by the apostolic nuncio, Vidon, 
arrayed in purple, in a white chasuble embroidered with 
pearls and gold. 

For the king a kneeling-stool wiis placed between the 
great altir and the pews; before the kneeling-stool was 
a Turkish sofa. The church arm-chairs were occupied by 
bishops and lay senators. 

Many colored rays, passing through the windows, joined 
with the gleam of candles, with which the altar seemed 
burning, and fell upon the faces of senators in the church 
chairs, on the white beards, on the imix)sing forms, on 
golden chains, on violet velvet. You would have said, " A 
Roman senate ! " such was the majesty and dignity of these 
old men. Here and there among gray heads was to be seea 
the face of a warrior senator ; here and there gleamed the 
blond head of a youthful lord. All eyes were fixed on the 
altar, all were i)raying; the flames of the candles were 
glittering and (juivering; the smoke from the censers was 
playing and curling in the bright air. The l)ody of the 
church was packed with heads, and over the heads a rain- 
bow of banners was playing, like a rainbow of flowers. 

The majesty of the king, Yan Kazimir, prostrated itself, 
according to his custom, in the form of a cross, and humi- 
liated itself before the majesty of God. At last the nuncio 
brought from the tabernacle a chalice, and bearing it before 


him approached the kneel ing-stool, then the king raised 
himself with a brighter face, the voice of the nuncio was 
heard : " Ecce Agnus Dei (Behold the Lamb of God)," and 
the king received communion. 

For a time he remained kneeling, with inclined head; at 
last he rose, turned his eyes toward heaven, and stretched 
out both hands. 

There was sudden silence in the church, so that breathing 
was not audible. All divined that the moment had come, 
and that the king would make some vow ; all listened with 
collected spirit. But he stood with outstretched arms ; at last, 
with a voice filled with emotion, but as far reaching as a 
bell, he began to speak, — 

*' Great Mother of Divine humanity, and Virgin ! I, 
Yan Kazimir, king by the favor of Thy Son, King of kings 
and my Lord, and by Thy favor approaching Thy Most 
Holy feet, form this, the following pact. I to-day choose 
Thee my Patroness and Queen of my dominions. I commit 
to Thy special guardianship and protection myself, my 
Polish kingdom, the Grand Principality of Lithuania, 
Russia, Prussia, Mazovia, Jmud, Livland, and Chernigov, 
the armies of both nations and all common people. I beg 
obediently Thy aid and favor against enemies in the present 
affliction of my kingdom.'* 

Here the king fell on his knees and was silent for a time. 
In the church a deathlike stillness continued unbroken ; then 
rising he spoke on, — 

" And constrained by Thy great benefactions, T, with the 
Polish people, am drawn to a new and ardent bond of 
service to Thee. I promise Thee in my own name and in 
the names of my ministers, senators, nobles, and people, to 
extend honor and glory to Thy Son, Jesus Christ, Our 
Saviour, through all regions of the Polish kingdom ; to make 
a promise that when, with the mercy of Thy Son, I obtain 
victory over the Swedes, T will endeavor that an anni- 
versary be celebrated solemnly in my kingdom to the end 
of the world, in memory of the favor of God, and of Thee, 
O Most Holy Virgin.'' 

Here he ceased again and knelt. In the church there was 
a murmur ; but the voice of the king stopped it quickly, and 
though he trembled this time with penitence and emotion, 
he continued still more distinctly, — 

** And since, with great sorrow of heart, I confess that I 
endure from God just punishment, which is afflicting us all 



in my kingdom with various plagues for seven years, be- 
cause poor, simple tillers of the soil groan in suffering, 
oppressed by the soldiery, 1 bind myself on the conclusion 
of peace to use earnest efforts, together with the estates 
of the Commonwealth, to free suffering peasants from 
every cruelty, in which, Mother of Mercy, Queen, and 
my Lady, since Thou hast inspired me to make this vow, 
obtain for me, by grace of Thy mercy, aid from Thy Son to 
accomplish what I here promise." 

These words of the king were heard by the clergy, the 
senators, the nobles, and the common people. A great wail 
was raised in the cliurch, which came first from hearts of 
the peasants ; it burst forth from them, and then became 
universal. All raised their hands to heaven ; weeping voices 
repeated, *' Amen, amen, amen ! " in testimony that they 
had joined their feelings and vows with the promise of the 
king. Enthusiasm seized their hearts, and at that moment 
made them brothers in love for the Commonwealth and its 
Patroness. Indescribable joy shone on their faces like a 
clear flame, and in all that church there was no one who 
doubted that God would overwhelm the Swedes. 

After that service the king, amid the thunder of musketry 
and cannon and mighty shouts of " Victory ! victory ! may 
he live ! " went to the castle, and there he confirmed the 
heavenly confederation together with that of Tyshovtsi. 



After these solemnities various tidings flew into Lvoff 
like winged birds. There were older and fresh tidings 
more or less favorable, but all increased courage. First 
the confederation of Tyshovtsi grew like a conflagration; 
every one living joined it, nobles as well as peasants. 
Towns furnished wagons, firearms, and infantry ; the Jews 
money. No one dared to oppose the manifestoes ; the most 
indolent mounted. There came also a terrible manifesto 
from Wittemberg, turned against the confederation. Fire 
and sword were to punish those who joined it. This mani- 
festo produced the same effect as if a man tried to quench 
flames with powder. The manifesto, with the knowledge 
assuredly of the king, and to rouse hatred more thoroughly 
against the Swedes, was scattered through Lvoff in great 
numbers, and it is not becoming to state what common 
people did with the copies ; it suffices to say that the wind 
bore them terribly dishonored through the streets of the 
city, and the students showed, to the delight of crowds, 
*' Wittemberg's Confusion,'' singing at the same time the 
song beginning with these words, — 

" Wittemberg, poor man, 
Race across over the sea, 

Like a hare * 
But wlien thy buttons are lost 
Thou wilt drop down thy trousers, 

While racing away ! " 

And Wittemberg, as if making the words of the song true, 
gave up his command in Cracow to the valiant Wirtz, and 
betook himself hurriedly to Elblang, where the King of 
Sweden was sojourning with the queen, spending his time 
at feasts, and rejoicing in his heart that he had become the 
lord of such an illustrious kingdom. 

Accounts came also to Lvoff of the fall of Tykotsin, and 
minds were gladdened. It was strange that men had begun 
to speak of that event before a courier had come ; only they 
did not say whether Eadzivill had died or was in captivity. 


It was asserted, however, that Sapyeha, at the head of a 
considerable force, had gone from Podlyasye to Lyubelsk 
to join the hetnians ; that on the road he was beating the 
Swedes and growing in power every day. 

At last envoys came from Sapyeha himself in a consider- 
able number, for tlie voevoda had sent neither less nor more 
than one whole squadron to be at the disposal of the king, 
desiring in this way to show honor to the sovereign, to 
secure his person from every possible accident, and perhaps 
specially to increase his significance. 

The squadron was brought by Volodyovski, well known 
to the king; so Yan Kazimir gave command that he should 
stand at once in his presence, and taking Pan Michael's 
head between his hands, he said, — 

" 1 greet thee, famous soldier ! Much water has flowed 
down since we lost sight of thee. I think that we saw thee 
last at Berestechko, all covered with blood." 

l*an Michael bent to the knees of the king, and said, — 

"It was later, in Warsaw, Gracious Lord ; also in the castle 
with the present castellan of Kieff, Pan Charnyetski." 

*' But are you serving all the time ? Had you no desire 
to enjoy leisure at home ? " 

"No; for the Commonwealth was in need, and besides, 
in these public commotions my property has been lost. 1 
have no place in which to put my head, Gracious Lord ; but 1 
am not sorry for myself, thinking that the first duty of a 
soldier is to the king and the country." 

" Ah, would there were more such ! The enemy would 
not be so rich. God grant the time for rewards will come ; 
but now tell me what you have done with the voevoda of 
Vilna ? '' 

" The voevoda of Vilna is before the judgment of God. 
The soul went out of him just as we were going to the final 

" How was that ? " 

" Here is Pan Sapyeha's report," said Volodyovski. 

The king took Sapyeha's letter and began to read ; he had 
barely begun when he stopped. 

" Pan Sapyeha is mistaken," said he, " when he writes 
that the grand baton of Lithuania is unoccupied ; it is not, 
for I give it to him," 

" There is no one more worthy," said Pan Michael, " and 
to your Royal Grace the whole army will be grateful till 
death for this deed." 


The king smiled at the simple soldierly confidence, and 
read on. After a while he sighed, and said, — 

" Radzivill might have been the first pearl in this glorious 
kingdom, if pride and the errors which he committed had 
not withered his soul. It is accomplished ! Inscrutable 
are the decisions of God ! Radzivill and Opalinski — al- 
most in the same hour ! Judge them, Lord, not accord- 
ing to their sins, but according to Thy mercy." 

Silence followed ; then the king again began to read. 

" We are thankful to the voevoda," said he, when he had 
finished, " for sending a whole squadron and under the 
greatest cavalier, as he writes. Hut I am safe here ; and 
cavaliers, especially such as you, are more needed in the 
field. Rest a little, and then I will send you to assist Char- 
nyetski, for on him evidently the greatest pressure will be 

" We have rested enough already at Tykotsin, Gracious 
Lord," said the little knight, with enthusiasm ; " if our 
horses were fed a little, we might move to-day, for with 
Charnyetski there will be unspeakable delights. It is a 
great happiness to look on the face of our gracious lord, 
but we are anxious to see the Swedes." 

The king grew radiant. A fatherly kindness appeared 
on his face, and he said, looking with pleasure on the sul- 
phurous figure of the little knight, — 

" You were the first little soldier to throw the baton of 
a colonel at the feet of the late prince voevoda." 

" Not the first, your Royal Grace ; but it was the first, and 
God grant the last, time for me to act against military dis- 
cipline." Pan Michael stopped, and after a while added, 
" It was. impossible to do otherwise." 

" Certainly," said the king. " That was a grievous hour 
for those who understood military duty ; but obedience must 
have its limits, beyond which guilt begins. Did many 
officers remain with Radzivill ? " 

" In Tykotsin we found only one officer. Pan Kharlamp, 
who did not leave the prince at once, and who did not wish 
afterward to desert him in misery. Compassion alone kept 
Kharlamp with Radzivill, for natural affection drew him 
to us. We were barely able to restore him to health, such 
hunger had there been in Tykotsin, and he took the food 
from his own mouth to nourish the prince. He has come 
here to Lvoff to implore pardon of your Royal Grace, and I 
too fall at your feet for him ; he is a tried and good soldier." 


*» Let him come hither," said the king. 

"He has also something important to tell, which he 
heard in Kyedaui from the mouth of Prince Boguslav, and 
which relates to the person of your Royal Grace, which 
is sacred to us." 

"Is this about Kmita?" 

" Yes, Gracious Lord.'' 

" Did you know Kmita ? " 

" I knew him and fought with him ; but where he is now, 
1 know not." 

" What do you think of him ? " 

" (iracious Lord, since he undertook such a deed there are 
no torments of which he is not worthy, for he is an abor- 
tion of hell." 

" That story is untrue," said the king ; " it is all an in- 
vention of Prince Boguslav. But putting that affair aside, 
what do you know of Kmita in times previous ? " 

" He was always a great soldier, and in military affairs 
incomparable. He used to steal up to Hovanski so that 
with a few hundred people he brought the whole force of 
the enemy to misery ; no other man could have done that, 
it is a miracle that the skin was not torn from him and 
stretched over a drum. If at that time some one had 
placed Prince Radzivill himself in the hands of Hovanski, 
he would not have given him so much pleasure as he would 
had he made him a present of Kmita. Why ! it went so 
far that Kmita ate out of Hovanski's camp-chests, slept 
on his rugs, rode in his sleighs and on his horse. But 
he was an infliction on his own people too, terribly self- 
willed ; like Pan Lashch, he might have lined his cloak with 
sentences, and in Kyedani he was lost altogether." 

Here Volodyovski related in detail all that had happened 
in Kyedani. 

Yan Kazimir listened eagerly, and when at last Pan Mi- 
chael told how Zagloba had freed first himself and then 
all his comrades from RadzivilPs captivity, the king held 
his sides from laughter. 

" Vir incamparahills ! vir incoinparahilis (an incomparable 
man) ! " he repeated. " But is he here with you ?" 

" At the command of your Royal Grace ! " answered 

"That noble surpasses Ulysses ! Bring him to me to din- 
ner for a pleasant hour, and also the Skshetuskis; and now 
toll me what you know more of Kmita." 

VOL. II. —15 


" From letters found on Rob Kovalski we learned that we 
were sent to Birji to die. The prince pursued us afterward 
and tried to surround us, but he did not take us. We es- 
caped luckily. And that was not all, for not far from Kye- 
dani we caught Kmita, whom I sent at once to be shot." 

" Oh ! " said the king, " 1 see that you had sharp work 
there in Lithuania." 

" But first Pan Zagloba had him searched to find letters 
on his person. In fact, a letter from the hetman was found, 
in which we learned that had it not been for Kmita we 
should not have been taken to Birji, but would have been 
shot without delay in Kyedani." 

" But you see ! " said the king. 

" In view of that we could not take his life. We let him 
go. What he did further 1 know not, but he did not 
leave Jiadzivill at that time. God knows what kind of 
man he is. It is easier to form an opinion of any one else 
than of such a whirlwind. He remained with Radzivill 
and then went somewhere. Later he warned us that the 
prince was marching from Kyedani. It is hard to belittle 
the notable service he did us, for had it not been for that 
warning Radzivill would have fallen on unprepared troops, 
and destroyed the squadrons one after the other. I know 
not myself, Gracious Lord, what to think, — whether that 
was a calumny which Prince Boguslav uttered." 

" That will appear at once," said the king ; and he clapped 
his hands. " Call hither Pan Babinich ! " said he to a page 
who appeared on the threshold. 

The page vanished, and soon the door of the king's cham- 
ber opened, and in it stood Pan Andrei. Volodyovski did 
not know him at once, for he had changed greatly and grown 
pale, as he had not recovered from the struggle in the pa.s.s. 
Pan Michael therefore looked at him without recognition. 

" It is a wonder," said he at last ; " were it not for the 
thinness of lips and because your Royal Grace gives another 
name, I should say this is Pan Kmita." 

The king smiled and said, — 

"This little knight has just told me of a terrible disturber 
of that name, but I explained a.s on my i)alm that hc^was 
deceived in his judgment, and 1 am sure that Pan Balnnieh 
will confirm what I say." 

" Gracious Lord," answered Babinich, quickly, ** one word 
from your graee will clear that disturber more than my 
greatest oath." 


** And tlie voice is the same," said Pan Michael, with 
growing astonishment ; " but that wound across the mouth 
was not there." 

" Worthy sir,'- answered Kmita, " the head of a noble is 
a register on which sometimes a man's hand writes with a 
sabre. And here is your note ; recognize it." 

He bowed his head, shaven at the sides, and pointed at 
the long whitish scar. 

" My liand ! '' cried Volodyovski. 

** But 1 say that you do not know Kmita," put in the 

" How is that, (iracious Lord ? '' 

" For you know a great soldier, but a self-willed one, an 
associate in the treason of Radzivill. But here stands the 
Hector of Chenstohova, to whom, next to Kordetski, Yasna 
Gora owes most ; here stands the defender of the country 
and my faithful servant, who covered me with his own 
breast and saved my life when in the pass I had fallen 
among the Swedes as among wolves. Such is this new 
Kmita. Know him and love him, for he deserves it." 

Volodyovski began to move his yellow mustaches, not 
knowing what to say ; and the king added, — 

" And know that not only did he promise Prince Bo- 
guslav nothing, but he began on him the punishment for 
Radzivill intrigues, for he seized him and intended to give 
him into your hands." 

'* And he warned us against Prince Yanush ! " cried Volo- 
dyovski. " What angel converted you ? " 

** Embrace each other ! " said the king. 

" I loved you at once ! " said Kmita to Volodyovski. 

Then they fell into each other's embraces, and the king 
looked on them and pursed out his lips with delight, time 
after time, as wa,s his habit, l^ut Kmita embraced the lit- 
tle knight with such feeling that he raised him as he would 
a cat, and not soon did he place him back on his feet. 

Then the king went to the daily council, for the two het- 
mans of the kingdom had come to Lvoff ; they were to form 
the army there, and lead it later to the aid of Charnyetski, 
and the confederate divisions marching, under various lead- 
ers, throughout the country. 

The knights were alone. 

'• Come to my quarters,'- said Volodyovski ; "you mil find 
there Pan Yan, Pan Stanislav, and Zagloba, who will be glad 
to hear what the king has told me. There too is Kharlamp." 



But Kmita approached the little knight with great dis- 
quiet on his face. " Did vou find many people with Radzi- 
vill ? " a^ked he. 

" Of officers, Kharlami) alone was there." 

"I do not ask about the military, but about women." 

" I know what you mean," answered Pan Michael, flush- 
ing somewhat. *' Prince Hoguslav took Panna Billevich to 

Kmita's face changed at once; first it was pale as a 
parchment, then purple, and again whiter than before. He 
did not find words at once ; but his nostrils quivered while 
he was catching breath, which apparently failed in his 
breast. Then he seized his temples with both hands, and 
running through the room like a madman, began to repeat, — 

" Woe to me, woe, woe ! " 

" Come ! Kharlamp will tell you better, for he was pres- 
ent," said Volodyovski. 



When they had left the king's chamber the two knights 
walked on in silence. Volodyovski did not wish to speak ; 
Kmita was nnable to utter a word, for pain and rage were 
gnawing him. They broke through the crowds of people 
who had collected in great numbers on the streets in con- 
sequence of tidings that the first detachment of the Tar- 
tars promised by the Khan had arrived, and was to enter 
the city to be presented to the king. The little knight led 
on ; Kmita hastened after him like one beside himself, with 
his cap pulled over his eyes and stumbling against men on 
the way. 

When they had come to a more spacious place Pan 
Michael seized Kmita by the wrist and said, — 

"Control yourself ! Despair will do nothing." 

** I am not in despair,'' answered Kmita, " but I want his 

** You may be sure to find him among the enemies of the 

" So much the better," answered Kmita, feverishly ; " but 
even should I find him in a church — " 

" In God's name, do not commit sacrilege ! " interrupted 
the little colonel, c^uickly. 

" That traitor will bring me to sin." 

They were silent for a time. Then Kmita asked, " Where 
is he now ? " 

" Maybe in Taurogi, and maybe not. Kharlamp will 
know better." 

" Let us go." 

" It is not far. The squadron is outside the town, but we 
are here ; and Kharlamp is with us." 

Then Kmita began to breathe heavily like a man going 
up a steep mountain. " I am fearfully weak yet," said he. 

" You need moderation all the more, since you will have 
to deal with such a knight." 

" I had him once, and here is what remained." Kmita 
pointed to the scar on his face. 

" Tell me how it was, for the king barely mentioned it." 


Kmita began to tell ; and though he gritted his teeth, and 
t!ven threw his cap on the ground, still liis mind escaped 
from misfortune, and he calmed himself somewhat. 

"I knew that you were daring," said Volodyovski; " but 
to carry off Radzivill from the middle of his own squadron, 
1 did not expect that, even of you." 

Meanwhile they arrived at the quarters. Pan Van and 
Pan Stanislav, Zagloba, Jendzian, and Kharlamp were look- 
ing at Crimean coats made of sheepskin, which a trading 
Tartar had brought. Kharlamp, who knew Kmita better, 
recognized him at one glance of the eye, and dropping the 
coat exclaimed, — 

"Jesus, Mary !" 

" May the name of the Lord be praised I " cried Jendzian. 

But before all had recovered breath after the wonder, 
Volodyovski said, — 

** 1 present to you, gentlemen, the Hector of Chenstohova, 
the faithful servant of the king, who has shed his blood for 
the faith, the (jountry, and the sovereign." 

When astonishment had grown still greater, the worthy 
Pan Michael began to relate with enthusiasm what he had 
heard from the king of Kmita's services, and from Pan An- 
drei himself of the seizure of Prince Boguslav j at last he 
finished thus, — 

"Not only is what Prince Boguslav told of this knight 
not true, but the prince has no greater enemy than Pan 
Kmita, and therefore he has taken Panna Billevich from 
Kyedani, so as to pour out on him in some way his 

" And this cavalier has saved our lives and warned the 
confederates against Prince Yanush," cried Zagloba. " In 
view of such services, previous offences are nothing. As 
God lives, it is well that he came to us with you, Pan 
Michael, and not alone ; it is well also that our squadron is 
outside the city, for there is a terrible hatred against him 
among the Lauda men, and before he could have uttered a 
syllable they would have cut him to pieces." 

" We greet you with full hearts as a brother and future 
comrade," said Pan Yan. 

Kharlamp seized his head. 

" Such men never sink," said he ; " they swim out on 
every side, and besides bring glory to the shore." 

" Did I not tell you that ? " cried Zagloba. " The minute 
I saw him in Kyedani I thought at once, * That is a soldier. 


a man of courage.* And you remember that we fell to kissing 
I'ach other straightway. It is true that Radzivill was ruined 
through nie, but also through him. God inspired me in 
Billeviche not to let him be shot. Worthy gentlemen, it is 
not becoming to givt*. a dry reception to a cavalier like him ; 
he may think that we are hypocrites." 

When he heard this Jendzian packed off the Tartar with 
his coats, and bustled around with the servant to get drinks. 

But Kmita was thinking only how to hear most quickly 
from Kharlamp aliout the removal of Oleiika. 

" Where were you then ? '' asked he. 

" 1 scarcely ever left Kyedani,*' answered Great Nose. 
** Prince Boguslav came to our prince voevoda. He so 
dressed himself for supper that one's eyes ached in looking 
at him ; it was clear that Panna Billevich had pleased him 
mightily, for he was almost purring from pleasure, like a 
cat rubbed on the back. It is said that a cat repeats 
prayers, but if Boguslav prayed he was praising tlie devil. 
Oh, but he was agreeable, and sweet and ])leasant spoken." 

" Let that go ! " said Pan Michael, ** you cause too great 
pain to the knight." 

" On tlie contrary. Speak ! speak ! " cried Kmita. 

**He said then at table," continued Kharlamp, "that it 
was no derogation even to a Kadzivill to marry the daughter 
of a common noble, and that he himself would prefer such a 
lady to one of those princesses whom the King and Queen 
of France wished to give him, and whose names I cannot 
remember, for they sounded as when a man is calling 
hounds in the forest." 

" Less of that ! " said Zagloba. 

*' He said it evidently to captivate the lady ; we, knowing 
that, began one after another to look and mutter, thinking 
truly that he was setting traps for the innocent." 

** But she ? but she ? " asked Kmita, feverishly. 

"She, like a maiden of high blood and lofty bearing, 
showed no satisfaction, did not look at him ; but when Bo- 
guslav l>egan to talk about you, she fixed her eyes on him 
cpiickly. It is terrible what happened when he said that 
you offered for so many ducats to seize the king and deliver 
him dead or alive to the Swedes. We thought the soul 
would go out of her; but her anger against you was so great 
that it overcame her woman's weakness. When he told 
with what disgust he had rejected your offer, she began to 
respect him, and look at him thankfully ; afterward she 


did not withdraw her hand from him when he wished to 
escort her from the table.'' 

Kmita covered his eyes with his hands. " Strike, strike, 
whoso believes in God ! " said he. Suddenly he sprang from 
his place. " Farewell, gentlemen I " 

" How is this ? Whither ? " asked Zagloba, stopping the 

" The king will give me permission ; I will go and find 
him," said Kmita. 

" By God's wounds, wait ! You have not yet learned all, 
and to find him there is time. With whom will you go ? 
Where will you find him ? " 

Kmita perhaps might not have obeyed, but strength 
failed him; he was exhausted from wounds, therefore he 
dropped on the bench, and resting his shoulders against the 
wall, closed his eyes. Zagloba gave him a glass of wine ; 
he seized it with trembling hands, and spilling some on his 
beard and breast, drained it to the bottom. 

" There is nothing lost," said Pan Yan ; " but the greatest 
prudence is needed, for you have an affair with a celebrated 
man. Through hurried action and sudden impulse you may 
ruin Panna Billevich and yourself." 

" Hear Kharlamp to the end," said Zagloba. 

Kmita gritted his teeth. " I am listening with patience." 

"Whether the lady went willingly I know not," said 
Kharlamp, "for I was not present at her departure. I 
know that the sword-bearer of Eossyeni protested when 
they urged him previously ; then they shut him up in the 
barracks, and finally he was allowed to go to Billeviche 
without hindrance. The lady is in evil hands ; this cannot 
be concealed, for according to what they say of the young 
prince no Mussulman has such greed of the fair sex. If 
any fair head strikes his eye, though she be married, he is 
ready to disregard even that." 

"Woe! woe!" repeated Kmita. 

" The scoundrel ! " cried Zagloba. 

" But it is a wonder to me that the prince voevoda gave 
her to Boguslav," said Pan Yan. 

" I am not a statesman, therefore T repeat only what the 
officers said, and namely Ganhoif, who knew all the secrets 
of the prince ; I heard with my own ears how some one 
cried out in his presence, * Kmita will have nothing after 
our young prince ! ' and Ganhoff answered, ' There is more 
of politics in this removal than love. Prince Boguslav,' said 


he, * lets no one off ; but if the lady resists he will not be 
able to treat her like others, in Taurogi, for a noise would 
be made. Yanush's princess is living there with her 
daughter ; therefore Boguslav must be very careful, for he 
seeks the hand of his cousin. It will be hard for him to 
simulate virtue,' said he, * but he must in Taurogi.' " 

** A stone has of course fallen from your heart," cried 
Zagloba, " for from this it is clear that nothing threatens 
the lady.'' 

" But why did they take her away ? " cried Kmita. 

" It is well that you turn to me," said Zagloba, ** for I 
reason out quickly more than one thing over which another 
would break his head for a whole year in vain. Why did he 
take her away ? I do not deny that she must have struck 
his eye ; but he took her away to restrain through her all 
the Billeviches, who arc numerous and powerful, from ris- 
ing against the Radzivills.*' 

" That may be ! " said Kharlamp. ** It is certain that in 
Taurogi he must curb himself greatly ; there he cannot go 
to extremes.'' 

" Where is he now ? " 

" The prince voevoda supposed in Tykotsin that he must 
be at Elblang with the King of Sweden, to whom he had to 
go for reinforcements. It is certain that he is not in Tau- 
rogi at present, for envoys did not find him there." 

Here Kharlamp turned to Kmita. " If you wish to lis- 
ten to a simple soldier I will UA\ you what I think : If any 
misadventure has happened to Panna Billevich in Taurogi, 
or if the prince has been able to arouse in her affection, you 
have no reason to go ; but it not, if she is with Yanush's 
widow and will go with her to Courland, it will be safer 
there than elsewhere, and a better place could not be found 
for her in this whole Commonwealth, covered with the 
flame of war." 

"If you are a man of such courage as they say, and as 
I myself think," added Pan Yan, "you have first to get 
Boguslav, and when you have him in your hands, you 
have all." 

" Where is he now ? " repeated Kmita, turning to 

" I have told you already," answered Great Nose, " but 
you are forgetful from sorrow ; I suppose that he is in 
Elblang, and certainly will take the field with Karl Gustav 
against Charuyetski." 


"You will do best if you go with us to Charnyetski, for 
in this way you will soon meet Boguslav," said Volodyovski. 

" I thank you, gentlemen, for kindly advice," cried Kmita. 
And he began to take hasty farewell of all, aujl they did 
not detain him, knowing that a suffering man is not good 
for the cup or for converse ; but Pan Michael said, — 

" I will attend you to the archbishop's palace, for you 
are so reduced that you may fall somewhere on the street." 

" And I ! " said Pan Van. 

**Then w(» will all gu I" ])ut in Zagloba. 

They girded on their sabres, put on warm burkas, and 
went out. On the streets there were still more people than 
before. Every moment the knights met groups of armed 
nobles, soldi(;rs, servants of magnat(»s and nobles, Armeni- 
ans, Jews, Wallachians, Russian peasants from the suburbs 
burned during the two attacks of Hmelnitski. 

Merchants were standing before their shops ; the win- 
dows of the houses were tilled with heads of curious people. 
All were repeating that the chambul had come, and would 
soon march through the city to be [)resented to the king. 
p]very living person wished to see that chambul, for it was 
a great rarity to look on Tartars marching in peace through 
the streets of a city. In other teini)er had Lvoff seen these 
guests hitherto ; the city had seen them only beyond the 
walls, in the form of impenetrable clouds on tlu^ background 
of flaming suburbs and neighboring villages. Now they were 
to march in as allies against SwecU^i. Our knights were 
barely able to open a way for themselves through the 
throng. P]very moment there were cries : " They are com- 
ing, they are coming ! " People ran from street to street, 
and were packed in such masses that not a step forward 
was ])ossible. 

"Ha ! " said Zagloba, "let us stop a little, Pan Michael. 
They will remind us of the near piist, for we did not look 
sidewise but straight into the eyes of these buU-^lrivers. 
And I too have been in captivity among them. They say 
that the future Khan is as much like me as one cup is like 
another. But why talk of past follies ? " 

" They are coming, they are coming ! " cried the people 

" God has changed the hearts of the dog-brothers," con- 
tinued Zagloba, ** so that instead of ravaging the Russian 
borders they come to aid us. This is a clear miracle ! For I 
tell you that if for every pagan whom this old hand has sent 

• THE DELUGE. 236 

to hell, one of my sins had been forgiven, I should be canon- 
ized now, and people would have to fast on the eve of my 
festival, or I should have been swept up living to heaven in 
a chariot of tire." 

" And do you remember/' asked Volodyovski, ** how it 
was with them when they were returning from the Vala- 
dynka from Rashkoff to Zbaraj ? " 

" Of course I do, Pan Michael ; but somehow you fell 
into a hole, and I chased through tlie thick wood to the 
high-road. And when we came back to find you, the 
knights could not restrain their astonishment, for at each 
bush lay a dead beast of a Tartar." 

Pan Volodyovski remembered that at the time in ques- 
tion it was just the opposite ; but he said nothing, for he 
was wonderfidly astonished, and before he could recover 
breath voices were shouting for the tenth time : " They are 
coming, they are coming ! " 

The shout became general ; then there was silence, and all 
heads were turned in the direction from which the chambul 
was to come. Now piercing music was lieard in the dis- 
tance, the crowds began to open from the middle of the 
street towaril the walls of the houses, and from the end ap- 
peared the tirst Tartar horsemen. 

" See I they have a band even ; that is uncommon with 
Tartars ! " 

" They wish to make the l)est impression," said Pan Yan ; 
" but still some chambuls after they have lived long in 
camp, have their own musicians. That nuist be a choice 

Meanwhile the horsemen had come up and begun to ride 
past. In front on a pied horse sat a Tartar holding two 
pipes in his mouth, and as tawny as if he had been dried 
and smoked. Bending his head backward and closing his 
eyes, he ran his fingers over those pipes, obtaining from 
them notes squeaking, sharj), and so quick that the ear could 
barely catch them. After him rode two others holding 
staffs furnished at the ends with brass rattles, and they 
were shaking these rattles as if in frenzy; farther back 
some were making shrill sounds with brass ])lates, some 
were beating drums, while others were playing in Cossack 
fashion on teorbans ; and all, with the exception of the 
pipers were singing, or rather howling, from moment to 
moment, a wild song, at the same time showing their teeth 
and rolling their eyes. After that chaotic music, which 


went like a brawl past the dwellers in Lvoff, clattered 
horses four abreast; the whole party was made up of 
about four hundred men. 

This was in fact a chosen body, as a specimen, and to do 
honor to the King of Poland, for his own use, and as an 
earnest sent by the Khan. They were led by Akbah Ulan, 
of the Dobrudja, therefore of the sturdiest Tartiirs in battle, 
an old and .experienced warrior, greatly respected in the 
Uluses (Tartar villages), because of his bravery and sever- 
ity. He rode between the music and the rest of the party, 
dressed in a shuba of rose-colored velvet, but greatly faded, 
and too narrow for his powerful person ; it was lined with 
tattered marten-skin. He held in front of him a baton, 
like those used by Cossack colonels. His red face had be- 
come blue from the cold wind, and he swaved somewhat on 
his lofty saddle ; from one moment to another he looked 
from side to side, or turned his face around to his Tartars, 
as if not perfectly sure that they could restrain themselves 
at sight of the crowds, the women, the children, the open 
shops, the rich goods, and that they would not rush with a 
shout at those wonders. 

But they rode on quietly, like dogs led by chains and 
fearing the lash, and only from their gloomy and greedy 
glances might it be inferred what was passing in the souls 
of those barbarians. The crowds gazed on them with curi- 
osity, though almost with hostility, so great in those parts 
of the Commonwealth was hatred of the Pagan. From 
time to time cries were heard: "Aim! ahu!" as if at 
wolves. Still there were some who expected much from 

*' The Swedes have a terrible fear of the Tartars, and the 
soldiers tell wonders of them, from which their fear in- 
creases,'' said some, looking at the Tartars. 

" And justly," answered others. " It is not for the 
cavalry of Karl to war with the Tartars, who, especially 
those of the Dobrudja, are equal sometimes to our cavalry. 
Before a Swedish horseman can look around, the Tartar 
will have him on a lariat." 

** It is a sin to call sons of Pagans to aid us," said some 

" Sin or no sin, they will serve us." 

" A very decent chambul ! " said Zagloba. 

Really the Tartars were well dressed in white, black, 
and party-colored sheepskin coats, the wool on the outside ; 


black bows, and quivers full of arrows were shaking on 
their shoulders ; each had besides a sabre, which was not 
always the case in large chanibuls, for the poorest were not 
able to obtain such a luxury, using in hand-to-hand conflict 
a horse-skull fastened to a club. But these were men, as 
was said, to be exhibited ; therefore some of them had even 
muskets in felt cases, and all were sitting on good horses, 
small, it is true, rather lean and short, with long forelocks 
on their faces, but of incomparable swiftness. 

In the centre of the party went also four camels : the 
crowd concluded that in their packs were presents from 
the Khan to the king ; but in that they were mistaken, for 
the Khan chose to take gifts, not give them ; he promised, 
it is true, reinforcements, but not for nothing. 

When they had passed, Zagloba said : ^' That aid will 
cost dear. Though allies, they will ruin the country. 
After the Swedes and them, there will not be one sound 
roof in the Commonwealth." 

*' It is sure that they are terribly grievous allies," said 
l^an Yan. 

" I have heard on the road," said Pan Michael, "that the 
king has made a treaty, that to every five hundred of the 
horde is to be given one of our officers, who is to have com- 
mand and the right of punishment. Otherwise these friends 
would leave only heaven and earth behind them." 

"But this is a small chambul; what will the king do 
with it?" 

" The Khan sent them to be placed at the disposal of the 
king almost as a gift ; and though he will make account of 
them, still the king can do what he likes with them, and 
undoubtedly he will send them with us to Charnyetski." 

" Well, Charnyetski will be able to keep them in bounds." 

" Not unless he is among them, otherwise they will plun- 
der. It cannot be, but they will give them an officer at 

"And will he lead them? But what will that big 
Aga do ? " 

" If he does not meet a fool, he will carry out orders." 

" Farewell, gentlemen ! " cried Kmita, on a sudden. 

" Whither in such haste ? " 

" To fall at the king's feet, and ask him to give me com- 
mand of these people." 



That same day Akbah Ulan beat with his forehead to 
the king, and delivered to him letters of the Khan in which 
the latter repeated his promise of moving with one hundred 
thousand of the horde against the Swedes, when forty thou- 
sand thalers were paid him in advance, and when the first 
grass was on the fields, without which, in a country so 
ruined by war, it would be difficult to maintain such a great 
number of horses. As to that small chambul, the Khan had 
sent it to his " dearest brother " as a proof of his favor, so 
that the Cossacks, who were still thinking of disol)edience, 
might have an evident sign that this favor endures steadily, 
and let but the first sound of rel)ellion reach the ears of the 
Khan, his vengeful anger will fall on all Cossacks. 

The king received Akbah Ulan affably, and presenting 
him with a beautiful steed, said that he would send him 
soon to Pan Charnyetski in the field, for he wished to con- 
vince the Swedes by facts, that the Khan was giving aid 
to the Commonwealth. The eyes of the Tartar glittered 
when he heard of service under Charnyetski ; for knowing 
him from the time of former wars in the Ukraine, he, in 
common with all the Agds, admired him. 

But he was less pleased with the part of the Khan's letter 
which asked the king to attach to the chambul an officer, 
wlio knew the country well, who would lead the i)arty and 
restrain the men, and also Akbah Ulan himself from plunder 
and excesses. Akbah Ulan would have preferred certainly 
not to have such a patron over him ; but since the will of 
the Khan and the king were explicit, he merely beat with 
his forehead once more, hiding carefully his vexation, and 
perhaps promising in his soul that not he would bow down 
before that patron, but the patron before him. 

Barely had the Tartar gone out, and the senators with- 
drawn, when Kmita, who had an audience at once, fell at 
the feet of the king, and said, — 

" Gracious Lord ! I am not worthy of the favor for which 
1 ask, but I set as much by it as by life itself. Permit me 


to take coininand over these Tartars and move to the field 
with them at once.'- 

" I do not refuse/' answered the astonished Yan Kazimir, 
'* for a better leader it would be difficult to find. A cavalier 
of great daring and resolve is needed to hold them in check, 
or they will begin straightway to burn and murder our 
people. To this only am I firmly opposed, that you go to- 
morrow, before vour flesh has healed from the wounds made 
by Swedish rapiers.'' 

*' I feel that as soon as the wind blows around me in the 
field, my weakness will pass, and strength will enter me 
again ; as to the Tartars, I will manage them and bend 
them into soft wax.'' 

" Hut why in such haste ? Whither are you going ? " 

** Against the Swedes, Gracious Lord ; I have nothing to 
wait for here, since what I wanted I have, that is your favor 
and ])ardon for my former offences. I will go to Charny- 
etski with Volodyovski, or I will attack the enemy sepa- 
rately, as I did once Hovanski, and I trust in God that I 
shall have success.'" 

*' It must be that something else is drawing you to the 

" I will confess as to a father, and open my whole soul. 
Prince Boguslav, not content with the calumny which he 
cast on me, has taken that maiden from Kvcdani and con- 
fined her in Taiirogi, or worse, for he is attacking her 
honesty, her virtue, her honor as a woman. Gracious Lord ! 
the reason is confused in my head, when I think in what 
hands the poor girl is at present. By the passion of the 
Lord ! these wounds pain less. That maiden thinks to 
this moment that I offered that damned soul, that arch- 
cur to raise hands on your Royal Grace — and she holds me 
the lowest of all the degenerate. I cannot endure, I am 
not able to endure, till I find her, till 1 free her. Give me 
those Tartars and T swear that I will not do mv own work 
alone, imt I will crush so many Swedes that the court of this 
castle might be paved with their skulls.'' 

" Calm yourself," said the king. 

"If I had to leave service and the defence of majesty 
and the Commonwealth for my own cause, it would be a 
shame for me to ask, but here one unites with the other. 
The time has come to beat tho Swedes, 1 will do nothing 
else. The time has come to hunt a traitor ; I will hunt 
him to Livlaud, to Courland, and even as far as the 


Northerners, or beyond the sea to Sweden, should he 
hide there." 

" We have information that Boguslav will move very soon 
with Karl, from Elblang." 

" Then I will go to meet them." 

" With such a small chambul ? They will cover you with 
a cap." 

"Hovanski, with eighty thousand, was covering me, but 
he did not succeed." 

"All the loyal army is under Charnyetski. They will 
strike Charnyetski first of all." 

" I will go to Charnyetski. It is needful to give him aid 
the more quickly." 

" You will go to Charnyetski, but to Taurogi with such 
a small number you cannot go. Radzivill delivered all the 
castles in Jmud to the enemy, and Swedish garrisons are 
stationed everywhere ; but Taurogi, it seems to me, is some- 
where on the boundary of Prussia ? " 

" On the very boundary of Electoral Prussia, but on our 
side, and twenty miles from Tyltsa. Wherever I have to 
go, I will go, and not only will I not lose men, but crowds 
of daring soldiers will gather to me on the road. And 
consider this. Gracious Lord, that wherever I show myself 
the whole neighborhood will mount against the Swedes. 
First, I will rouse Jmud, if no one else does it. What place 
may not be reached now, when the whole country is boiling 
like water in a pot ? I am accustomed to be in a boil." 

" But you do not think of this, — perhaps the Tartars will 
not like to go so far with you." 

"Only let them not like! only let them try not to like," 
said Kmita, gritting his teeth at the very thought, " as there 
are four hundred, or whatever number there is of them, I '11 
have all four hundred hanged — there will be no lack of trees ! 
Just let them try to rebel against me." 

" Yandrek ! " cried the king, falling into good humor and 
pursing his lips, "as God is dear to me, I cannot find a 
better shepherd for those lambs! Take them and lead 
them wherever it pleases thee most." 

" I give thanks, Gracious Lord ! " said the knight, press- 
ing the knees of the king. 

" When do you wish to start ? " asked Yan Kazimir. 

" God willing, to-morrow." 

" Maybe Akbah Ulan will not be ready, because his horses 
are road- weary." 


" Then I will have him lashed to a saddle with a lariat, 
and he will go on foot if he spares his horse." 

" I see that you will get on with him. Still use mild 
measures while possible. But now, Yendrek, it is late; 
to-morrow I wish to see you again. Meanwhile take this 
ring, tell your royalist lady that you have it from the king, 
and tell her that the king commands her to love firmly his 
faithful servant and defender." 

" God grant me," said the young hero, with tears in his 
eyes, " not to die save in defence of your Royal Grace ! " 

Here the king withdrew, for it was already late; and 
Kmita went to his own quarters to prepare for the road, 
and think what to begin, and whither he ought to go first. 

He remembered the words of Kharlamp, that should it 
appear that Boguslav was not in Taurogi it would really be 
better to leave the maiden there, for from Taurogi being 
near the boundary, it was easy to take refuge in Tyltsa, 
under care of the elector. Moreover, thoujjh the Swedes 
had abandoned in his last need the voevoda of Vilna, it was 
reasonable to expect that they would have regard for his 
widow ; hence, if Olenka was under her care, no evil could 
meet her. If they had ^one to Courland, that was still 
better. " And to Courliini I cannot go with my Tartars," 
said Kmita to himself, " for that is another State." 

He walked then, and worked with his head. Hour fol- 
1ow«k1 hour, but he did not think yet of rest ; and the thought 
of his new expedition so cheered him, that though that day 
he was weak in the morning, he felt now that his strength 
was returning, and he was ready to mount in a moment. 

The servants at last had finished tying the saddle-straps 
and were preparing to sleep, when all at once some one 
began to scratch at the door of the room. 

*' Who is there ? " asked Kmita. Then to his attendant, 
*' Go and see ! " 

He went, and after he had spoken to some one outside the 
door, he returned. 

*' Some soldier wants to see your grace greatly. He says 
that his name is Soroka." 

*' By the dear God ! let him in," called Kmita. And 
without waiting for the attendant to carry out the order, he 
sprang to the door. " Come in, dear Soroka ! come hither ! " 

The soldier entered the room, and with his first move- 
ment wished to fall at the feet of his colonel, for he was a 
friend and a servant as faithful as he was attached ; but 

VOL. II. — 16 


soldierly subordination carried the day, therefore he stood 
erect and said, — 

" At the orders of your grace ! " 

*' Be greeted, dear comrade, be greeted ! " said Kmita, 
with emotion. "I thought they had cut you to pieces in 
Chenstohova." And he pressed Soroka's head, then began 
to shake him, which he could do without lowering himself 
too much, for Soroka was descended from village nobility. 

Then the old sergeant fell to embracing Kmita^s knees. 

" Whence do you come ? " asked Kmita. 

" From Chenstohova." 

** And you were looking for me ? " 

" Yes." 

" And from whom did you learn that I was alive ? " 

" From Kuklinovski's men. The prior, Kordetski, cele- 
brated High Mass from delight, in thanksgiving to God. 
Then there was a report that Pan Babinich had conducted 
the king through the mountains j so 1 knew that that was 
your grace, no one else." 

" And Father Kordetski is well ? " 

" Well ; only it is unknown whether the angels will not 
take him alive to heaven any day, for he is a saint." 

" Surely he is nothing else. Where did you discover that 
I came with the king to LvoflF ? " 

" I thought, since you conducted the king you must be 
near him ; but I was afraid that your grace might move to 
the field and that I should be late." 

" To-morrow I go with the Tartars." 

" Then it has happened well, for I bring your grace two 
full belts, one which I wore and the other you carried, and 
besides, those precious stones which we took from the caps 
of boyars, and those which your grace took when we seized 
the treasury of Hovanski." 

" Those were good times when we gathered in wealth ; 
but there cannot be much of it now, for 1 left a good hit 
with Father Kordetski." 

" I do not know how much, but the prior himself said 
that two good villages might be bought with it." 

Then Soroka drew near the table, and began to remove the 
belts from his body. " And the stones are in this canteen," 
atlded he, putting the canteen near the belts. 

Kmita made no reply, but shook in his hand some gold 
ducats without counting them, and said to the sergeant, — 

•* Take these ! " 

THr: DELUGE. 243 

" I fall at the feet of your grace. Ei, if I had had on the 
road one such ducat I " 

»* How is that ? '' 

** Because I am terribly weak. There are few places now 
where they will give one morsel of bread to a man, for all 
are afraid ; and at last I barely dragged my feet forward 
irom hunger." 

** By the dear God I but you had all this with you ! " 

" 1 dared not use it without leave." 

"Take this!" said Kmita, giving him another handful. 
Then he cried to the servants, — 

"Xow, scoundrels, give him to eat in less time than a 
man might say * Our Father,' or I '11 take your heads ! " 

They sprang one in front of another, and in little while 
there wius an enormous dish of smoked sausage before So- 
roka, and a Hask of vodka. The soldier fastened his eyes 
greedily on the food, and his lips and mustaches were quiv- 
ering ; but he dared not sit in ])resence of the colonel. 

" Sit down, eat ! " commanded Kmita. 

Kmita had barely spoken when a dry sausage was crunch- 
ing between the powerful jaws of Soroka. Tlie two attend- 
ants looked on him with protruding eyes. 

»♦ Be off ! " cried Kmita. 

They sprang out with all breatli through the door ; but 
the knight walked witii hasty steps up and down the room, 
not wishing to interrupt his faithful servant. But he, as 
often as he poured out a glass of v^odka, looked sidewise at 
the colonel, fearing to find a frown ; then he emptied the 
glass and turntMl toward the wall. 

Kmita walked, walked ; at last he Ijegan to speak to him- 
self. •• It cannot be otln^rwise ! " muttinx»d he; " it is need- 
ful to send him. I will give orders to tell her — No use, 
she will not believe I She will not read a letter, for she 
holds m(^ a traitor and a dog. Let him not come in her way, 
but let him see and tell me what is taking place there.*' 

Then he said on a sudden : " Soroka ! '' 

The soldier sprang up so quickly that he came near 
overturning the table, and straightened as straight as a 

" According to order I '' 

" You are an honest man, and in need you are cunning. 
You will go on a long road, but not on a hungry one." 

** According to order ! " 

" To Tyltsa, on the Prussian border. There Panna Bille- 


vich is living in the castle of Boguslav Radzivill. You will 
learn if the prince is there, and have an eye on everything. 
Do not try to see Panna Billevich j but should a meeting hap- 
pen of itself, tell her, and swear that I brought the king 
through the mountains, and that I am near his person. She 
will surely not give you credit j for the prince has defamed 
me, saying that I wished to attempt the life of the king, — 
which is a lie befitting a dog." 
" According to order ! " 

" Do not try to see her, as I have said, for she will not 
believe you. But if you meet by chance, tell her what you 
know. Look at everything, and listen ! But take care of 
yourself, for if the prince is there and recognizes you, or if 
any one from his court recognizes you, you will be impaled on 
a stake. I would send old Kyemlich, but he is in the other 
world, slain in the pass ; and his sons are too dull. They 
will go with me. Have you been in Tyltsa ? " 
" I have not, your grace." 

" You will go to Shchuchyn, thence along the Prussian 
boundary to Tyltsa. Taurogi is twenty miles distant from 
Tyltsa and opposite, on our side. Stay in Taurogi till you 
have seen everything, then come to me. You will find me 
where I shall be. Ask for the Tartars and Pan Babinich. 
And now go to sleep with the Kyemliches. To-morrow for 
the road." 

After these words, Soroka went out. Kmita did not lie 
down to sleep for a long time, but at last weariness over- 
came him ; then he threw himself on the bed, and slept a 
stone sleep. 

Next morning he rose greatly refreshed and stronger than 
the day before. The whole court was already on foot, and 
the usual activity had begun. Kmita went first to the chan- 
(•ellery, for his commission and safe-conduct ; he visited 
Suba Gazi Bey, chief of the Khan's embassy in Lvoff, and 
had a long conversation with him. 

During that conversation Pan Andrei ])ut his hand twice 
in his purse ; so that when he was going out Suba Gazi Bey 
changed caps with him, gave him a baton of green feathers 
and some yards of an equally green cord of silk. 

Armed m this fashion, Pan Andrei returned to the king, 
who had just come from Mass ; then the young man fell 
once more at the knees of the sovereign ; after that he went, 
together with the Kyemliches and his attendants, directly 
to the place where Akbah Ulan was quartcirecj with bis 


At sight of him the old Tartar put his hand to his forehead, 
his mouth, and his breast ; but learning who Kmita was and 
why he had come, he grew severe at once ; his face became 
gloomy, and was veiled with haughtiness. 

" And the king has sent you to me as a guide," said he to 
Kmita, in broken Russian; ** you will show me the road, 
though I should be able to go myself wherever it is needed, 
and you are young and inexperienced." 

** He indicates in advance what I am to be," thought 
Kmita, ** but I will be polite to him as long as I can." Then 
he said aloud : " Akbah Ulan, the king has sent me here as 
a chief, not as a guide. And I tell you tiiis, that you will do 
better not to oppose the will of his grace." 

" The Khan makes appointments over the Tartars, not the 
king," answered Akbah Ulan. 

" Akbah Ulan," repeated Kmita, with emphasis, *' the 
Khan has made a present of thee to the king, as he would a 
dog or a falcon j therefore show no disrespect to him, lest 
thou be tied like a dog with a rope." 

" Allah ! " cried the astonished Tartar. 

" Hei ! have a care that thou anger me not ! " said Kmita. 

Akbah Ulan's eyes became bloodshot For a time he could 
not utter a word ; the veins on his neck were swollen, his 
hands sought his dagger. 

" I '11 bite, I '11 bite 1 " said he, with stifled voice. 

But Pan Andrei, though he had promised to be polite, had 
had enough, for by nature he was very excitable. In one 
moment therefore something struck him as if a serpent had 
stung ; he seized the Tartar by the thin beard with his whole 
hand, and pushing back his head as if he wished to show 
him something on the ceiling, he began to talk through his 
set teeth. 

" Hear me, son of a goat ! Thou wouldst like to have no 
one above thee, so as to burn, rob, and slaughter ! Thou 
wouldst have me as guide I Here is thy guide ! thou hast a 
guide ! " And thnisting him to the wall, he began to pound 
his head against a corner of it. 

He let him go at last, completely stunned, but not look- 
ing for his knife now. Kmita, following the im]mlse of his 
hot blood, discovered the best method of convincing Oriental 
people ac^customed to slavery ; for in the pounded head of 
the Tartar, in spite of all the rage which was stifling him, 
the thought gleamed at once how powerful and command- 
ing must that knight be who could act in this manner with 


him, Akbah Ulan; and with his bloody lips he repeated 
three times, — 

" Bagadyr (hero), Bagadyr, Bagadyr ! " 

Kmita meanwhile placed on his own liead the cap of Suba 
Gazi, drew forth the green baton, which hi^ had kept behind 
his belt of purpose till that moment, and said, — 

" Look at these, slave ! and these ! '^ 

" Allah I '' exclaimed the astonished Ulan. 

"And here I" added Kmita, taking the cord from his 

But Akbah Ulan was already lying at his feet, and strik- 
ing the floor with his forehead. 

An hour later the Tartars were inarching out in a long 
line over the road from Lvoff to Vyelki Ochi; and Kmita, 
sitting on a valiant chestnut steed which the king had given 
him, drove along the chambul as a shei>herd dog drives 
sheep. Akbah Ulan looked at the young hero with wonder 
and fear. 

The Tartiirs, who were judges of warriors, divined at the 
first glance that inider that leader there would be no lack 
of blood and plunder, and went willingly with singing and 

And Kmita's heart swelled within him when he looked at 
those forms, resembling beasts of the wilderness ; for they 
were dressed in sheepskin and camel-skin coats with the 
wool outside. The wave of wild heads shook with the 
movements of the horses ; he counted them, and was think- 
ing how much he could undertake with that force. 

*' It is a peculiar body," thought he, **and it seems to me 
as if I were leading a i)ack of wolves; and with such men 
precisely would it be possible to iTin through the whole 
Commonwealth, and trample all Prussia. Wait awhile. 
Prince Boguslav ! " 

Here boastful thoughts began to flow into his head, for 
he was inclined greatly to boastfulness. 

** God has given man adroitness," said he to himself ; 
" yesterday T had only the two Kyemliches, but t^-day four 
hundred horses are clattering behind me. Only let the dance 
begin ; I shall have a thousand or two of such roisterers as 
my old comrades would not be ashamed of. Wait a while, 
Boguslav ! " 

But after a moment he added, to quiet his own conscience : 
** And I shall serve also the king and the country." 

He fell into excellent humor. This too pleased him 


greatly, that nobles, Jews, peasants, even large crowds of 
<i;eneral militia, could not guard themselves from fear in the 
first moment at sight of his Tartars. And there was a fog, 
tor the thaw had filled the air with a vapor. It happened 
then every little while that some ont3 rode up near, and see- 
ing all at once whom they had before them, cried out, — 

" The word is made flesh ! " 

** Jesus ! Mary ! Joseph ! " 

" The Tartars ! the horde ! " 

But the Tartars passed peacefully the equipages, loaded 
wagons, herds of horses and travellers. It would have been 
different had the leader permitted, but they dared not under- 
take anything of their own will, for they had seen how at 
starting Akbah Ulan had held the stirrup of that leader. 

Now Lvoff had vanished in the distance beyond the mist. 
The Tartars had ceased to sing, and the chambul moved 
slowly amid the clouds of steam rising from the horses. All 
at once the tramp of a horse was heard behind. In a mo- 
ment tvvo horsemen appeared. One of them was Pan Mi- 
chael, the other was the tenant of Vansosh ; both, passing 
the chambul, pushed straight to Kmita. 

" Stop ! sto]) ! '' cried the little knight. 

Kmita held in his iiorse. " Is that you ? '^ 

Pan Michael reined in his horse. " With the forehead I" 
said he, "letters from the king: one to you, the other to 
the voevoda of Vityebsk/* 

** I am going to Pan Charnyetski, not to Sapyeha." 

'* But read tlie letter." 

Kmita broke the seal and read as follows : — 

We learn through a courier just arrived from the voevoda of 
^'ityohsk that he cannot march hither to Little Poland, and is 
turniiiir hack a^aiu to Podlyasye, because Prince Hoguslav, who 
is not with the King of Sweden, has planned to fall upon Tykotsin 
and Pan Sapyeha. And since he must leave a pfreat part of his 
troops in garrisons, we order you to ^ to his assistance with that 
Tartar chambul. And since your own wish is thus gratified, we 
need not urge you to hasten. The other letter you will give to the 
voevoda; in it we coinraend Pan Babinich, our faithful servant, to 
the good will of the voevoda, and above all to the protection of 
Ood. Yan Kazimik, King. 

" By the dear God ! by the dear Grod ! This is happy 
news for mo I " cried Kmita. " I know not how to thank 
the king and you for it." 



" I offered myself to come," said the little knight, " out 
of compassion, for I saw your pain ; I came so that the let- 
ters might reach you surely." 

" When did the courier arrive ? " 

" We were with the Iting at dinner, — I, Pan Yan, Pan 
Stanislav, Kharlamp, and Zagloba. You cannot imagine 
what Zagloba told there about the carelessness of Sapyeha, 
and his own services. It is enough that the king cried from 
continual laughter, and both hetmans were holding their 
sides all the time. At last the chamber servant came with 
a letter, when the king burst out, ' Go to the hangman, 
maybe evil news will spoil my fun ! ' When he learned 
that it was from Pan Sapyeha, he began to read it. Indeed 
he read evil news, for that was coniirmed which had long 
been discussed ; the elector had broken all his oaths, and 
against his own rightful sovereign had joined the King of 
Sweden at last." 

"Another enemy, as if there were few of them hith- 
erto ! " cried Kmita ; and he folded his hands. " Great 
God ! only let Pan Sapyeha send me for a week to Prus- 
sia, and God the Merciful grant that ten generations will 
remember me and my Tartars." 

" Perhaps you will go there," said Pan Michael ; " but first 
you must defeat Boguslav, for as a result of that treason of 
the elector is he furnished with men and permitted to go to 

" Then we shall meet, as to-day is to-day ; as Grod is in 
heaven, so shall we meet," cried Kmita, with flashing eyes. 
" If you had brought me the appointment of voevoda of 
Vilna, it would not have given me more pleasure." 

" The king too cried at once : * There is an expedition 
ready for Yendrek, from which the soul will rejoice in him.' 
He wanted to send his servant after you, but I said I will 
go myself, I will take farewell of him once more." 

Kmita bent on his horse, and seized the little knight in 
his embrace. 

" A brother would not have done for me what you have 
done ! God grant me to thank you in some way." 

" Tfu ! Did not I want to shoot you ? " 

" I deserved nothing better. Never mind ! May I be 
slain in the first battle if in all knighthood I love a man 
more than I love you." 

Then they began to embrace again at parting, and Volo- 
dyovski said, — 



"Be careful with Boguslav, be careful, for it is no easy 
matter with him." 

" For one of us death is written. Ei ! if you who are a 
genius at the sabre could discover your secrets to me. But 
there is no time. As it is, may the angels help me ; and I 
will see his blood, or my eyes will close forever on the light 
of day." 

*' God aid you ! A lucky journey, and give angelica to 
those traitors of Prussians ! " said Volodyovski. 

" Be sure on that point. The disgusting Lutherans ! " 

Here Volodyovski nodded to Jendzian, who during this 
time was talking to Akbah Ulan, explaining the former 
successes of Kmita over Hovanski. And both rode back to 

Then Kmita turned his chambul on the spot, as a driver 
turns his wagon, and went straight toward the north. 



Though the Tartars, and especially those of the Do- 
brudja, knew how to stand breast to breast against armed 
men in the field, their most cherished warfare was the 
slaughter of defenceless people, the seizing of women and 
peasants cai)tive, and above all, plunder. The road was 
very bitter therefore to that chambul which Kmita led, for 
under his iron hand these wild warriors had to become 
lambs, keep their knives in the sheaths, and the quenched 
tinder and coiled ropes in their saddle-bags. They mur- 
mured at first. 

Near Tarnogrod a few remained behind of purpose to 
let free the " red birds " in Hmyelevsk and to frolic with 
the women. But Kmita, who had pushed on toward To- 
mashov, returned at sight of the first gleam of fire, and 
commanded the guilty to hang the guilty. And he had 
gained such control of Akbah Ulan, that the old Tartar not 
only did not resist, but ho urged the condemned to hang 
quickly, or the •* bogadyr " would be angry. Tbenceforth 
" the lambs " marched quietly, crowding more closely to- 
gether through the villages and towns, lest suspicion might 
fall on them. And the execution, though Kmita carried it 
out so severely, did not rouse even ill will or hatred against 
him ; such fortune had that fighter that his subordinates 
felt just as unich love for him as they did fear. 

It is true that Tan Andrei permitted no one to wrong 
them. The country had been terribly ravaged by the re- 
cent attack of Hmelnitski and Sheremetyeff ; therefore it- 
was as difheult to find j)rovisions and pasture as before 
harvest, and Vjesides, everything had to be in time and in 
plenty; in Krinitsi, where the townspeople offered n-sist- 
ance and would not furnish supplies, Pan Andrei ordered 
that some of them be beaten with sticks, and tho undei- 
starosta he stretched out with the 'blow of a whirlbat. 

This delighted the horde immensely, and hearing with 
pleasure the uproar of the beaten people, they said among 
themselves, — 


*' Ei I our Babinich is a falcon ; he lets no man offend his 

It is enough that not only did they not grow thin, but the 
men and horses improved in condition. Old Ulan, whose 
stomach had expanded, looked with growing wonder on the 
young hero and clicked with his tongue. 

" If Allah were to give me a son, I should like such a one. 
I should not die of hunger in my old age in the Ulus," re- 
peated he. 

Hut Kmita from time to time struck him on the stomach 
and said, — 

** Hero listen, wild boar ! If the Swedes do not open 
your paunch, you will hide the contents of all cupboards 
inside it." 

" Where are the Swedes ? (Jur ropes will rot, our bows will 
be mildewed," answered Ulan, who was homesick for war. 

They were advancing indeed through a country to which 
a Swedish foot had not been able to come, but farther they 
would pass through one in which there had been garrisons 
afterward driven out by con IVde rates. They met every- 
where smaller and larger bands of armed nobles, marching 
in various directions, and not smaller bands of peasants, 
who more than once .stopi)od the road to them threaten- 
ingly, and to whom it was often difficult to explain that 
they liad to do with friends and servants of the King of 

They came at last to Zamost. The Tartars were amazed 
at sight of this mighty fortress ; but what did they think 
when told that not long before it had stopped the whole 
power of Hmelnitski? 

Pan Zamoyski, the owner by inheritance, permitted them 
as a mark of great affection and favor to enter the town. 
They were admitted through a brick gate, while the other 
two were stone. Kmita himself did not expect to see any- 
thing similar, and he could not recover from astonishment 
at sight of the broad streets, built in straight lines, Italian 
fashion ; at sight of the splendid coUegtN and the academy, 
the castle, walls, the great cannon and every kind of pro- 
vision. As few among magnates could be compared with 
the grandson of the great chancellor, so there were few 
fortresses that could be compared with Zamost. 

But the greatest ecstasy seized the Tartars, when they 
saw the Armenian part of the town. Their nostrils drew in 
greedily the odor of morocco, a great manufacture of which 


was carried on by industrial immigrants from Kaffa ; and 
their eyes laughed at sight of the dried fruits and confec- 
tionery, Eastern cari>ets, girdles, inlaid sabres, daggers, 
bows, Turkish lamps, and every kind of costly article. 

The cup-bearer of the kingdom himself pleased Kmita's 
heart greatly. He wsis a genuine kinglet in that Zamost of 
his; a man in the strength of his years, of tine presence 
though lacking somewhat robustness, for ho had not rr- 
strained sufficiently the ardors of nature in early years. 
He had always loved the fair sex, but his health had not 
been shaken to that degree that joyousness had vanished 
from his face. So far he had not married, and though the. 
most renowned houses in the Commonwealth had opened 
wide their doors, he asserted that he could not find in them a 
sufficiently beautiful maiden. He found h(»r somewhat later, 
in the person of a young French lady, who though in love with 
another gave him her hand without hesitation, not foreseeing 
that the first one, disregarded, would adorn in the future his 
own and her head with a kingly crown. 

The lord of Zamost was not distinguished for quirk 
wit, though he IukI enough for his own use. He did not 
strive for dignities and offices, though they came to him 
of themselves ; and when his friends reproached him 
with a lack of native ambition, he answered, — " It is 
not true that 1 lack it, for T have more than those 
who bow down. Wliy shuuld I wear out the thresholds of 
the court? In Zamost I am not only Yau Zamoyski, but 
Sobiepan Zamoyski.'' ' with which name he wjis very well 
pleased. He was glad to affect simj)lo manners, though he 
had received a refined education and had passed his youth 
in journeys through foreign lands. He spoke of himself as 
a common noble, and spoke emphatically of the moderate- 
ness of his station, perhaps so that others might contradict 
him, and perhaps so that they might not notice his medium 
wit. On the whok^ he was an honorable man, and a better 
son of the Commonwealth than many others. 

And as he came near Kmita's heart, so did Kmita please 
him ; therefore he invited Pan Andrei to the chambers of 
the castle and entertained him, for he loved this also, that 
men should exalt his hospitality. 

Pan Andrei came to know in the castle many noted per- 
sons ; above all. Princess Griselda Vishnycvetski, sister of 
Pan Zamoyski and widow of the great Yeremi, — a man who 

^ Self-lord Zamoyski. 


in his time was well-nigh the greatest in the Commonwealth, 
who nevertheless had lost his whole immense fortune in the 
time of the Cossack incursion, so that the princess was now 
living at Zamost, on the bounty of her brother Yan. 

But that lady was so full of grandeur, of majesty and vir- 
tue, that her brother was the first to blow away the dust 
from before her; and moreover he feared her like fire. There 
was no case in which he did not gratify her wishes, nor an 
affair the most important concerning which he did not advise 
with her. The people of the castle said that the princess 
ruled Zamost, the army, the treasury, and her brother ; but 
she did not wish to take advantage of her preponderance, 
being given with her wliole soul to grief for her husband 
and to the education of her son. 

That son had recently returned for a short time from the 
court of Vienna and was living with her. He was a youth 
in the springtime of life ; but in vain did Kmita seek iu 
him those marks which the son of the great Yeremi should 
bear in his features. 

The figure of the young prince was graceful ; but he had a 
large, full face, and protruding eyes with a timid look ; he 
had coarse lips, moist, as with people inclined to pleasures 
of the table; an immense growth of hair, black as a raven's 
wing, fell to his shoulders. He inherited from his father 
only that raven hair and dark complexion. 

Pan Andrei was assured by those who were more intimate 
with the prince that he hatd a noble soul, unusual under- 
standing, and a remarkable memory, thanks to which he was 
able to speak almost all languages; and that a certain 
heaviness of body and temperament with a native greed for 
food were the only defects of that otherwise remarkable 
young man. 

In fact, after he had entered into conversation with him 
Pan Andrei became convinced that the prince not only had 
an understanding mind and a striking judgment touching 
everything, but the gift of attracting people. Kmita loved 
him after the first conversation with that feeling in which 
compassion is the greatest element. He felt that he would 
give much to bring back to that orphan the brilliant future 
which belonged to him by right of birth. 

Pan Andrei convinced himself at the first dinner that 
what was said of the gluttony of Michael Vishnyevetski 
was true. The young prince seemed to think of nothing 
save eating. His prominent eyes followed each dish uur 


easily, and wheu they brought him the platter he took an 
enormous quantity on his plate and ate ravenously, smack- 
ing his lips as only gluttons do. The marble face of the 
princess grew clouded with still greater sorrow at that 
sight. It became awkward for Kniita, so that he turned 
away his eyes and looked at Sobiepan. 

But Zamoyski was not looking either at Prince Michael 
or his own guest. Kmita followed his glance, and behind 
the shoulders of Princess Griselda he saw a wonderful sight 
indeed, which he had not hitherto noticed. 

It was the small pretty head of a maiden, who was as 
fair as milk, as red as a rose, and beautiful as an image. 
Short wavy locks ornamented her forehead ; her quick eyes 
were directed to the officers sitting near Zamoyski, not omit- 
ting Sobiepan himself. At last those eyes rested on Kmita, 
and looked at him fixedly, as full of coquetry as if they in- 
tended to gaze into the depth of his heart. 

But Kmita was not easily confused ; therefore he began to 
look at once into those eyes with perfect insolence, and 
then he punched in the side Pan Shurski, lieutenant of the 
armored castle squadron at Zamost, who was sitting near 
liim, and asked in an undertone, — 

" But who is that tailed farthing ? " 

** Worthy sir," answered Shurski, aloud, ** do not speak 
slightingly when you do not know of whom you are speak- 
ing. That is Panna Anusia Borzobogati. And you will 
not call her otherwise unless you wish to regret your 

" You do not know, sir, that a farthing is a kind of bird 
and very beautiful, therefore there is no contempt in the 
name," answered Kmita, laughing; " but noticing your anger 
you must be terribly in love." 

"But who is not in love?" muttered the testy Shurski. 
** Pan Zamovski himself has almost looked his eves out, and 
is as if sitting on an awl." 

"I see that, I see that!" 

"What do you see? He, T, Grabovski, Stolangyevich, 
Konoyadzki, Kubetski of the dragoons, Pyechynga, — she 
has sunk us all. And with you it will be the same, if you 
stay here. With her twenty-four hours are sufficient." 

"Lord brother! with me she could do nothing in 
twentv-four months." 

" How is that ? " asked Shurski, with indignation ; " are 
you made of metal, or what ? " 



** No ! But if some one had stolen the last dollar from 
your pocket you would not be afraid of a thief." 

" Is that it ? " answered Shui^ski. 

Kmita grew gloomy at once, for his trouble came to his 
mind, and he noticed no longer that the black eyes were 
looking still more stubbornly at him, as if asking, " What 
is thy name, whence dost thou come, youthful knight ? " 

But Shurski muttered: "Bore, bore away I She bored 
that way into me till she bored to my heart. Now she does 
not even care." 

Kmita shook himself out of his seriousness. 

" Why the hangman does not some one of you marry 
her ? '' 

** Each one prevents every other." 

"The girl will be left in the lurch," said Kmita, "though 
in truth there must be white seeds in that pear yet." 

Shurski opened his eyes, and bending to Kmita's ear said 
very mysteriously, — 

" They say that she is twenty-five, as 1 love God. She 
was with Princess Griselda before the incursion of the 
rabble ? " 

"Wonder of wonders, I should not give her more than 
sixteen or eighteen at the most." 

This time the devil (the girl) guessed apparently that 
they were talking of her, for she covered her gleaming eyes 
Avith the lids, and only shot sidelong glances at Kmita, in- 
quiring continually : " Who art thou, so handsome ? Whence 
dost thou come ? " And he began involuntarily to twirl 
his mustache. 

After dinner Zamoyski, who from respect to the courtly 
manners of Kmita treated him as an unusual guest, took 
liini by the arm. " Pan Babinich," said he, "you have told 
iiie that you are from Lithuania ? " 

" That is true, Pan Zamoyski." 

*' Tell me, did you know the Podbipientas ? " 

" As to knowing I know them not, for they are no lon- 
ger in the world, at least those who had the arms Tear- 
Cowl. The last one fell at Zbaraj. He was the greatest 
knight that Lithuania had. Who of us does not know of 
Podbipienta ? " 

"I have heard also of him; but I ask for this reason: 
There is in attendance on my sister a lady of honorable fam- 
ily. She was the betrothed of this Podbipienta who was 
killed at Zbaraj. She is an orphan, witiiout father or 


motlier ; and though iny sister loves her greatly, still, being 
the natural guardian of my sister, I have in this way the 
maiden in guardianship." 

" A pleasant guardianship ! " put in Kmita. 

Zamoyski snuled, winked, and smacked his tongue. 
"Sweetcakes! isn't she?" 

But suddenly he saw that he was betraying himself, and 
assumed a serious air. 

" Oh, you traitor ! " said he, half jestingly, half seriously, 
'*you want to hang me on a hook, and I almost let it 
out ! " 

" What ? " asked Kmita, looking him quickly in the eyes. 

Here Zamoyski saw clearly that in quickness of wit he 
was not the equal of his guest, and turned the conversation 
at once. 

**That Podbipienta," said he, "bequeathed her some es- 
tates there in your region. I don't remember the names of 
them, for they are strange, — Baltupie, Syrutsiani, Myshy- 
kishki, — in a word, all that he had. Would I could remem- 
ber them ! Five or six estates." 

" They are adjoining estates, not separate. Podbipienta 
was a very wealthy man, and if that lady should come to 
his fortune she might have her own ladies-in-waiting, and 
seek for a husband among senators." 

" Do you tell me that ? Do you know those places ? " 

•' I know only Lyubovich and Sheputy, for they are near 
my land. The forest boundary alone is ten miles long, and 
the fields and meadows are as much more." 

'' Where are they ? " 

" In Vityebsk." 

'* Oh, far away ! the affair is not worth the trouble, and 
the country is under the enemy." 

" When we drive out the enemy we shall come to the prop- 
erty. But the Podbipientas have property in other places, — 
in .Fmud very considerable, I know, for I have a piece of 
land there myself." 

** I see that your substance is not a bag of chopped straw." 

** It brings in nothing now. But I need nothing from 

" Advise me how to put that maiden on her feet." 

Kmita laughed. 

" I prefer to talk over this matter rather than others. It 
would be better for her to go to Pan Sapyeha. If he would 
take the affair in hand, he could do a great deal as voevoda 


of Vityebsk and the most noted man in Lithuania. He could 
send notices to the tribunals that the will was made to Panna 
Borzobogati, so that Podbipienta's more distant relatives 
should not seize the propc^rty." 

" That is true ; but now there are no tribunals, and Sa- 
pyeha has something else in his head." 

" The lady might be placed in his hands and under his 
guardianship. Having her before his eyes, he would give 
aid more speedily." 

Kmita looked with astonishment at Zamoyski. "What 
object has he iu wishing to remove her from this place ? " 
thought he. 

Zamoyski continued : " It would be difficult for her to 
live in camp, in the tent of the voevoda of Vityebsk ; but 
she might stay with his daughters." 

" I do not understand this," thought Kmita ; " would he 
consent to be only her guardian ? " 

" But here is the difficulty : how can I send her to those 
parts in the present time of disturbance ? Several hundred 
men would be needed, and I cannot strip Zamost. If I could 
only find some one to conduct her. Now, you might take 
her ; you are going to Sapyeha. I would give you letters, 
and you would give me your word of honor to take her in 

" I conduct her to Sapyeha?" asked Kmita, in amazement. 

" Is the office unpleasant ? Even if it should come to love 
on the road — " 

" Ah," said Kmita, " another one is managing my affec- 
tions ; and though the tenant pays nothing, still I do not 
think of making a change." 

" So much the better ; with all the greater satisfaction can 
I confide her to you." 

A moment of silence followed. 

'* Well, will you undertake it ? " asked the starosta. 

** I am marching with Tartars." 

*' People tell me that the Tartars fear you worse than fire. 
Well, what ? Will you undertake it ? " 

** H'm ! why not, if thereby 1 can oblige your grace ? 
But — " 

" Ah, you think that the princess must give permission ; 
she will, as God is dear to me ! For she, — fancy to your- 
self, — she suspects me. " 

Here the starosta whispered in Kmita's ear ; at last he 
said aloud, — 

VOL. 11—17 


" She was very angry with me for that, and I put my eai-s 
aside ; for to war with women, — behold you ! I would 
rather have the Swedes outside Zamost. But she will have 
the best proof that I am planning no evil, when I wish to 
send the girl away. She will be terribly amazed, it is true ; 
but at the iirst opportunity I '11 talk with her touching this 

When he had said this, Zamoyski turned and went away. 
Kmita looked at him, and muttered, — 

" You are setting some snare. Pan Sobiepan ; and though 
I do not understand the object, I see the snare quickly, for 
you are a terribly awkward trapper." 

Zamoyski was pleased with himself, though he understood 
well that the work was only half done ; and another re- 
mained so difficult that at thought of it despair seized him, 
and even terror. He had to get permission of Princess 
Griselda, whose severity and i^enetrating mind Pan Sobiepan 
feared from his whole soul. But having begun, he wished 
to bring the work to completion as early as possible ; there- 
tore next morning, after Mass, and breakfast, and after he 
had reviewed the hired German infantry, he went to the 
chambers of the princess. 

He found the lady embroidering a coj)e for the college. 
Behind her was Anusia winding silk hung upon two arm- 
chairs ; a second skein of rose c()h)r she had placed around 
her neck, and moving her hands quickly, she ran around the 
chairs in pursuit of the unwinding thread. 

Zamoyski's eyes grew bright at sight of her ; but he as- 
sumed quickly a serious look, and gn^cting the princess, be- 
gan as if unwillingly, — 

** That Pan Babinich who has come here with the Tar- 
tars is a Lithuanian, — a man of imi)ortance, a very elegant 
fellow, a born knight in api)earance. Have you noticed 
him ? '' 

" You brought him to me yourself," answered the princess, 
indifferently , '' he has an honest face.'' 

"I asked Inm concerning that property left l*anna Boi-zo- 
bogati. He savs it is a fortune almost equal to that of the 

"God grant it to Anusia; her orphanhood will be the 
lighter, and her old age as well," said the lady. 

** But there is a danger lest distant relatives tear it apart. 
Babinich says that Sapyeha might occupy himself with it, if 
he wished. He is an honest man, and very friendly to us; 


I would contide my own daughter to him. It would be 
enough for him to send notices to the tribimals, and proclaim 
the guardianship. But Babinich says it is needful that 
Panna Anusia should go to those places in person." 

" Where, — to Pan Sapyeha ? " 

" Or to his daughters, so as to be there, that the formal 
installation might take place." 

The starosta invented at that moment " formal installa- 
tion," thinking justly that the princess would accept this 
counterfeit money instead of true (;oin. She thought a 
moment, and asked, — 

"How could she go now, when Swedes are on the 
road ? " 

" I have news that the Swedes have left Lublin. All this 
side of the Vistuhi is free." 

" And who woukl take Anusia to Pan Sapyeha ? " 

" Suppose this same Babinich." 

" With Tartars ? Lord Brother, fear God ; those are wild, 
chaotic people ! " 

"I am not afraid," i)ut in Anusia, rurtesying. 

But Princess (Irisc^lda had noted already that her brother 
came with some plan all prepared ; therefore she sent Anu- 
sia out of the room, and l>egan to look at Pan Sobiepan with 
an inquiring gaze. But he said as if to himself, — 

" These Tartars are down in the dust l)ef()re Babinich ; he 
hangs them for any insubordination." 

** I cannot permit this journey," answered the princess. 
" The girl is honest but giddy, and rouses enthusiasm 
quickly. You know that best yourself. I would never 
eoniide her to a young, unknown man." 

" Unknown here he is not, for who has not heard of 
the Babiniches as men of high family and steady people ? 
[Zamoyski had never heard of the Babiniches in his life.] 
l^<\sides," continued he, " yon might give her some sedate 
woman as companion, and then deconim would be observed. 
Babinich I guamntee. I tell you this, too, Lady Sist^*r, that 
he has in those places a betrothed with whom he is, as he 
tells me himself, in love; and whoso is in love has something 
else in his head. The foundation of the matter is this, that 
another such chance may not come for a long time, — the for- 
tune* may be lost to the girl, and in ripe years she may be 
without a roof above her." 

The princess ceased embroidering, raised her head, and 
fixing her penetrating eyes on her brother, asked, — 


" What reason have you to send her from here ? " 

" What reason have T ? " repeated he, dropping his glance ; 
" what can 1 have ? —none ! " 

"Yan, you have conspired with Babinich against her 
virtue ! " 

" There it is ! As God is dear to me, only that was want- 
ing ! You will read the letter which I shall send to Sa- 
pyeha, and give your own. 1 will merely say this to you, 
that 1 shall not leave Zamost. Finally examine Babinich 
himself, and ask. him whether he will undertake the office. 

The moment you suspect me I step aside." 

"Why do you insist so that she shall leave Zamost ? '' 

" For I wish her good, and it is the question of an im- 
mense fortune. Besides, 1 confess it concerns me much 
that she should leave Zamost. Your suspicions have grown 
disagreeable; it is not to my taste that you shoukl l>e 
frowning at mp forever and looking stern. I thought that 
in consenting to the departure of the young lady 1 should 
find the best argument against suspicions. God knows 1 
have enough of this, for I am no student who steals under 
windows at night. I tell you more : my officers are enraged 
one against the other, and shaking their sabres at one an- 
other. There is neither harmony, nor order, nor service 
as there should l)e. I have enough of this. But since 
you are boring me with your eyes, then do as you wish ; 
but look after Michael yoursoU, for that is your affair, 
not mine,'* 

" Michael ! " exclaimed the astonished princess. 

" I say nothing against the girl. She does not disturb 
him more than others ; but if yon do not see his arrowy 
glances and ardent affection, then I tell you this, that Cupid 
has not such power to blind as a mother's love." 

Princess Griselda-s brows contrac;ted, and her face grew 

Pan Sobiepan, seeing that he had struck home at last, 
slapped his knees with his hands and continued, — 

*' Lady Sister, thus it is, thus it is ! What is the affair 
to me ? Let Michael give her silk to unwind, let his nos- 
trils quiver when he looks at her, let him blush, let him 
look at her through keyholes ! What is that to me ? Still, 
I know — she has a good fortune — her family — well, she 
is of nobles, and I do not raise mvs(*lf above nobles. If 
you want it yourself, all right. Their years are not the same, 
but again it is not my affair." 



Zamoyski rose, and bowing to his sister very politely, 
started to go out. 

The blood rushed to her face. The proud lady did not 
see in the whole Commonwealth a match worthy of Vish- 
nyevetski, and abroad, perhaps among the archduchesses 
of Austria ; therefore these words* of her brother burned 
her like iron red hot. 

" Yan ! " said she, " wait ! " 

*' Lady Sister," said Zamoyski, " I wished first to give 
you proof that you suspect me unjustly ; second, that you 
should watch some one besides me. Now you will do as 
you please ; I have nothing more to say." 

Then Pan Zamoyski bowed and went out. 



Pan Zamoyski had not uttered jmre ciilumny to his sis- 
ter when he spoke of Michael's love for Anusia, for the 
young prince had fallen in love with her, as had all, not ex- 
f^epting the pages of the castle. But that love was not 
over-violent, and by no means aggressive ; it was rather an 
jigi'eeable intoxication of the head and mind, than an im- 
pulse of the heart, which, when it loves, impels to perma- 
nent possession of the object beloved. For such action 
Michael had not the energy. 

Nevertheless, Princess Griselda, dreaming of a brilliant 
future for her son, was greatly terrified at that feeling. In 
the first moment the sudden consent of her brother to 
Anusia's departure astonished her ; now she ceased think- 
ing of that, so far had the threatening danger seized her 
whole soul. A conversation with her son, who grew pale 
and trembled, and who before he had confessed anything 
shed tears, confirmed her in the supposition that the danger 
was terrible. 

Still she did not conquer her scruples of conscience at 
once, and it was only when Anusia, who wanted to see a 
new world, new people, and i)erhaps also turn the head 
of the handsome cavalier, foil at her feet with a request 
for permission, that the princess did not find strength 
sufticient to refuse. 

Anusia, it is true, covered herself with tears at the 
thought of parting with her mistress and mother; but for 
the clever girl it was perfectly evident that by asking for 
the separation she had cleared herself from every suspi- 
cion of having with preconceived jmrpose turned the head 
of Prince Michael, or even Zamoyski himself. 

Princess Griselda, from desire to know surely if there 
was a conspiracy between her brother and Kmita, directed 
the latter to come to her presence. Her brother's promise 
not to leave Zamost had calmed her considerably, it is 
true ; she wished, however, to know more intimately the 
man who was to conduct the young lady. 


The conversation with Kmita set her at rest thoroughly. 

There looked from the blue eyes of the young noble 
such sincerity and truth that it was impossible to doubt 
him. He confessed at once that he was in love with an- 
other, and besides he had neither the wish nor the head 
for folly. Finally he gave his word as a cavalier that he 
would guard the lady from every misfortune, even if he 
had to lay down his head. 

** I will take her safely to Pan Sapyeha, for Pan Za- 
inoyski says that the enemy has left Lublin. But I can do 
no more; not because I hesitate in willing service for 
your highness, since I am always willing to shed my blood 
for the widow of the greatest warrior and the glory of 
the whole Commonwealth, but because I have my own 
grievous troubles, out of which I know jiot whether I 
shall bring my life." 

" It is a question of nothing more," answered the princess, 
** than that you give her into the hands of Pan Sapyeha, 
and he will not refuse my request to be her guardian." 

Here she gave Kmita her hand, which he kissed with 
the greatest reverence, and she said in parting, — 

" Be watchful, Cavalier, be watchful, and do not place 
safety in this, that the country is free of the enemy." 

These last words arrested Kmita; but he had no time 
to think over them, for Zamoyski soon caught him. 

" Gracious Knight," said he, gayly, " you are taking the 
greatest ornament of Zamost away from me." 

"But at your wish," answered Kmita. 

" Take good care of her. She is a toothsome dainty. 
Some one may be ready to take her from you." 

" Let him try ! Oh, ho ! I have given the word of a 
cavalier to the princess, and with me my word is sacred." 

" Oh, I only say this as a jest. Fear not, neither take 
unusual caution." 

" Still I will ask of your serene great mightiness a car- 
riage with windows." 

" I will give you two. But you are not going at once, 
are you ? " 

" I am in a hurry. As it is, I am here too long." 

" Then send your Tartars in advance to Krasnystav. I 
will hurry off a courier to have oats ready for them there, 
and will give you an escort of my own to that place. No 
evil can happen to you here, for this is my country. I 
will give you good men of the German dragoons, bold 


fellows and acquainted with the road. Besides, to Kras- 
nystav the road is as if cut out with a sickle." 

" But why am I to stay here ? " 

"To remain longer with us; you are a dear guest. I 
should be glad to detain you a year. Meanwhile I shall 
send to the herds at Perespa ; perhaps some horse will be 
found which will not fail you in need." 

Kmita looked quickly into the eyes of his host; then, 
as if making a sudden decision, said, — 

"I thank you, I will remain, and will send on the 

He went straight to give them orders, and taking Akbah 
Ulan to one side he said, — 

" Akbah Ulan, you are to go to Krasnystav by the road, 
straight as if cut with a sickle. I stay here, and a day 
later will move after you with Zamoyski's escort. Listen 
now to what I say! You will not go to Krasnystav, but 
strike into the first forest, not far from Zamost, so that a 
living soul may not know of you ; and when you hear a 
shot on the highroad, hurry to me, for they are prepar- 
ing some trick against me in this place." 

" Your will," said Akbah Ulan, placing his hand on his 
forehead, his mouth, and his breast. 

" I have seen through you. Pan Zamoyski," said Kmita 
to himself. "In Zamost you are afraid of your sister; 
therefore you wish to seize the young lady, and secrete 
her somewhere in the neighborhood, and make of me the 
instrument of your desires, and who knows if not to take 
my life. But wait ! You found a man keener than your- 
self ; you will fall into your own traj) ! " 

In the evening Lieutenant Shurski knocked at Kmita's 
door. This officer, too, knew something, and had his sus- 
picions ; and because he loved Anusia he preferred that she 
should depart, rather than fall into the power of Zamoyski. 
Still he did not dare to speak openly, and perhaps bocauso 
he was not sure ; but he wonclered that Kmita had con- 
sented to send the Tartars on in advance ; ho declared that 
the roads were not so safe as was said, that everywhere 
armed bands were wandering, — bands swift to deeds of 

Pan Andrei decided to feign that he divined nothing. 
" What can happen to me ? " asked he ; " besides, Zamoyski 
gives me his own escort." 

"Bah I Germans!" 


" Are they not reliable men ? " 

" Is it possible to depend upon those dog-brothers ever ? 
It has happened that after conspiring on the road they 
went over to the enemy/' 

" But there are no Swedes on this side of the Vistula." 

*' They are in Lublin, the dogs I It is not true that they 
have left. I advise you honestly not to send the Tartars in 
advance, for it is always safer in a large company." 

"It is a pity that you did not inform me before. I 
have one tongue in my mouth, and an order given I never 

Next morning the Tartars moved on. Kmita was to fol- 
low toward evening, so as to pass the first night at Krasny- 
stav. Two letters to Pan Sapyeha were given him, — one 
from the princess, the other from her brother. 

Kmita had a great desire to open the second, but he dared 
not ; he looked at it, however, before the light, and saw that 
inside was blank paper. This discovery was proof to him 
that both the maiden and the letters were to be taken from 
him on the road. 

Meanwhile the horses came from Perespa, and Zamoyski 
presented the knight with a steed beautiful beyond admira- 
tion ; the steed he received with thankfulness, thinking in 
his soul that he would ride farther on him than Zamoyski 
expected. He thought also of his Tartars, who must now 
be in the forest, and wild laughter seized him. At times 
again he was indignant in soul, and promised to give the 
master of Zamost a lesson. 

Finally the hour of dinner came, which passed in great 
gloom. Anusia had red eyes; the officers were in deep 
silence. Pan Zamoyski alone was cheerful, and gave orders 
to fill the goblets ; Kmita emptied his, one after another. 
But when the hour of parting came, not many persons took 
leave of the travellers, for Zamoyski had sent the officers to 
their service. Anusia fell at the feet of the princess, and 
for a long time could not be removed from her ; the princess 
herself had evident disquiet in her face. Perhaps she re- 
proached herself in secret for permitting the departure of a 
faithful servant at a period when mishap might come easily. 
But the loud weeping of Michael, who held his fists to his 
eyes, crying like a school-boy, confirmed the proud lady in 
her conviction that it was needful to stifle the further 
growth of this boyish affection. Besides, she was quieted 
by the hope that in the family of Sapyeha the young lady 


would find protection, safety, and also the great fortune 
which was to settle her fate for the rest of her life. 

'* I commit her to your virtue, bravery, and honor," said 
the princess once more to Kmita ; " and remember that you 
have sworn to me to conduct her to Pan Sapyeha without 

** I will take her as I would a glass, and in need will wind 
oakun) around her, because I have given my word ; death 
alone will prevent me from keeping it," answered the knight. 

He gave his arm to Anusia, but she was angry and did not 
look at him; he had treated her rather slightingly, there- 
fore she gave him her hand very haughtily, turning her face 
and head in another direction. 

She was sorry to depart, and fear seized her; but it was 
too late then to draw back. 

The moment came ; they took their seats, — she in the car- 
riage with her old servant, Panna Suvalski, he on his horse, 
— and they started. Twelve German horsemen surrounded 
the carriage and the wagtm with Anusia's effects. When at 
last the doors in the Warsaw gate squeaked and the rattle 
of wheels was heard on the drop-bridge, Anusia burst into 
loud weeping. 

Kmita bent toward the carriage. ** Fear not, my lady, I 
will not eat you ! " 

" Clown ! " thought Anusia. 

They rode some time along the houses outside the walls, 
straight toward Old Zamost ; then they entered fields and 
a pine-wood, which in those days stretched along a hilly 
country to the Bug on one side ; on the other it extended, 
interrupted by villages, to Zavihost. 

Night had fallen, but very calm and clear ; the road was 
marked by a silver line; only the rolling of the carriage 
and the tramp of the horses broke the silence. 

"My Tartars must be lurking here like wolves in a 
thicket," thought Kmita. 

Then he bent his ear. 

" What is that ? " asked he of the officer who was leading 
the escort. 

"A tramp! Some horseman is galloping after us I " an- 
swered the officer. 

He had barely finished speaking when a Cossack hurried 
up on a foaming horse, crying, — 

" Pan Babinich ! Pan Babinich ! A letter from Pan 


The retinue halted. The Cossack gave the letter to 

Kmita broke the seal, and by the light of a lantern read 
as follows : — 

'* Gracious and dearest Pan Babiuich ! Soon after the depart- 
ure of Panna Borzobogati tidings came to us that the Swedes 
not only have not left Lublin, but that they intend to attack my 
Zamost. In view of this, further journeying and peregrinatioii 
become inconvenient. Considering therefore the dangers to which 
a fair head might be exposed, we wish to have Panna Borzobogati 
in Zamost. Those same knights will bring her back; but you, 
who must be in haste to continue your journey ^ we do not wish to 
trouble uselessly. Announcing which will of ours to your grace, 
we beg you to give orders to the horseman according to our 

" Still he is honest enough not to attack my life ; he only 
wishes to make a fool of me," thought Kmita. " But we 
shall soon see if there is a trap here or not." 

Now Anusia put her head out of the window. ** What is 
the matter ? " asked she. 

"Nothing! Pan Zamoyski commends you once more to 
my bravery. Nothing more." 

Here he turned to the driver, — 

'' Forward ! " 

The officer leading the horsemen reined in his horse. 
**Stop!" cried he to the driver. Then to Kmita, "Why 
move on ? " 

" But why halt longer in the forest ? " asked Kmita, with 
the face of a stupid rogue. 

" For you have received some order." 

" And what is that to you ? I have received, and tliat is 
why I command to move on." 

" Stop ! " repeated the officer. 

" Move on ! " repeated Kmita. 

"What is this ? " inquired Anusia again. 

" We will not go a step farther till 1 see the order ! " said 
the officer, with decision. 

" You will not see the order, for it is not sent to you." 

" Since you will not obey it, I will carry it out. You 
move on to Krasnystav, and have a care lest we give you 
something for the road, but we will go home with the 

Kmita only wished the officer to acknowledge that he 


knew the contents of the order ; this proved with perfect 
certainty that the whole affair was a trick arranged in 

** Move on with God ! " repeated the officer now, with a 

At that moment the horsemen began one after another to 
take out their sabres. 

** Oh, such sons ! not to Zamost did you wish to take the 
maiden, but aside somewhere, so that Pan Zamoyski might 
giv^e free rein to his wishes ; but you liave met with a more 
cunning man ! " When Babinich liad said this, he tired 
upward from a pistol. 

At this sound there was such an uproar in the forest, as 
if the shot had roused whole legions of wolves sleeping 
near by. The howl was heard in front, behind, from the 
sides. At once the tramp of horses sounded with the 
cracking of limbs breaking under their hoofs, and on the 
road were seen black groups of horsemen, who approached 
with unearthly howling. 

** Jesus! Mary! Joseph!" cried tlie terrified women in 
tlie carriage. 

Now the Tartars rushed up like a cloud ; but Kmita re- 
strained them with a triple cry, and turning to the aston- 
ished officer, began to boast, — 

" Know whom you have met ! Pan Zamoyski wished to 
make a fool of me, a blind instrument. To you he intrusted 
the functions of a pander, which you undertook, Sir Officer, 
for the favor of a master. Bow down to Zamoyski from 
Babinich, and tell him that the maiden will go safely to 
Pan Sapyeha." 

The officer looked around with frightened glance, and saw 
the wild faces gazing with terrible eagerness on him and his 
men. It was evident that they were waiting only for a 
word to hurl themselves on the twelve horsemen and tear 
them in pieces. 

"Your grace, you will do what you wish, for we cannot 
manage superior power," said he, witli trembling voice ; 
"but Pan Zamoyski is able to avenge himself." 

Kmita laughed. " Let him avenge himself on you ; for 
had it not come out that you knew the contents of the order, 
and had you not opposed the advance, I should not have 
been sure of the trick, and should have given you the maiden 
straightway. Tell the starosta to appoint a keener pander 
than you." 

The calm tone with which Kmita said this assured the 


officer somewhat, at least on this point, — that death did not 
threaten either him or his troopers ; therefore he breathed 
easily, and said, — 

*^ And must we return with nothing to Zamost ? " 

" You will return with my letter, which will be written on 
the skin of each one of you." 

" Your grace — " 

" Take them ! " cried Kmita ; and he seized the officer him- 
self by the shoulder. 

An uproar and struggle began around the carriage. The 
shouts of the Tartars deadened the cries for assistance 
and the screams of terror coming from the breasts of the 

But the struggle did not last long, for a few minutes later 
the horsemen were lying on the road tied, one at the side 
of the other. 

Kmita gave (^olnmand to flog them with bullock-skin whips, 
but not beyond measure, so that they might retain strength 
to w:ilk back to Zamost. The common soldiers received one 
hundred, and the officer a hundred and fifty lashes, in spite 
of the prayers and entreaties of Anusia, who not knowing 
what was passing around her, and thinking that she haid 
fallen into torrible hands, began to implore with joined 
palms and tearful eyes for her life. 

" Spare my life, knight I In what am I guilty before 
you ? Spare me, spare me ! '' 

" Be quiet, young lady ! " roared Kmita. 

" In what have 1 offt^nded ? " 

" Maybe you are in the plot yourself ? " 

** In what plot ? God, be merciful to me, a sinner ! " 

" Then you did not know that Pan Zamoyski only per- 
mitted your departure apparently, so as to separate you 
from the princess and carry you off on the road, to make 
an attemi)t on your honor in some empty castle ? " 

*' Jesus of Nazareth ! " screamed Anusia. 

And there was so much truth and sincerity in that cry 
that Kmita said more mildly, — 

" How is that ? Then you were not in the plot ? That 
may be ! " 

Anusia covered her face with her hands, but she could 
say nothing ; she merely repeated, time after time, — 

" Jesus, Mary ! Jesus, Mary ! '' 

" Calm yourself," said Kmita, still more mildly. ** You 
will go in safety to Pan Sapyeha, for Pan Zamoyski did not 
know with whom he had to deal. See, those men whom 


they are flogging were to carry you off. I give them their 
lives, so that they may tell Pan Zamoyski how smoothly it 
went with them." 

" Then have you defended me from shame ? " 

"I have, though I did not know whether you would be 

Anusia, instead of making answer or contradiction, seized 
Pan Andrei's hand and pressed it to her pale lips; and 
sparks went from his feet to his head. 

" Give peace, for God's sake ! " cried he. " Sit in the 
carriage, for you will wet your feet — and be not afraid! 
You would not be better cared for with your mother." 

" I will go now with you even to the end of the world." 

" Do not say such things." 

" God will reward you for defending honor." 

" It is the first time that I have had the opportunity," said 
Kmita. And then he muttered in an undertone to himself : 
" So far I have defended her as much as a cat sheds tears." 

Meanwhile the Tartars had ceased to beat the horsemen, 
and Pan Andrei gave command to drive them naked and 
bloody along the road toward Zamost. They went, weeping 
bitterly. Their horses, weapons, and clothing Kmita gave 
his Tartars ; and then moved on quickly, for it was unsafe 
to loiter. 

On the road the young knight could not restrain himself 
from looking into the carriage to gaze at tli<^ flashing eyes 
and wonderful face of the nuuden. He asked oncli time if 
she did not need something, if the carriaf^re u^ns convenient, 
or the quick travelling did not tire her too much. 

She answered, with thankfulness, that it was pleasant to 
her as it had never been. She had recovered from her 
tf»rror complotply. Her heart rose in gratitude to her 
defender, and slie thought : *' He is not so rude and surly 
as I held at first/' 

" Ai, Olenka, what do I suffer for you ! " said Kmita to 
himself; " do you not feed me with ingratitude ? Had tliis 
been in old times, u-ha ! " 

Then he remembered his comrades and tlie various deeds 
of violence which he had committed in company with them ; 
then he began to drive away temptation, began to rej)eat 
for their unhappy souls, " Eternal rest." 

When they had reached Krasnystav, Kmita considered 
it better not to wait for news from Zamost, and went on 
farther. But at parting he wrote and sent to Zamoyski the 
following letter : — 


Skrenk Great Mighty Lord Starosta,* and to me very 
Gracious Favorer and Benefactx)r! Whomsoever God has made 
great in the world, to him He deals out wit in more bountiful 
measure. I knew at once that vou, Serene Great Mighty Lord, 
only wished to put me on trial, when vou sent the order to give up 
Panna Borzobogati. I knew this all tlie better when the horsemen 
betrayed that they knew the substance of the order, though I did 
not snow them the letter, and though you wrote to me that the idea 
came to you only after my departure. As on the one hand I admire 
all the more your penetration, so on the other, to put the careful 
guardian more completely at rest, I promise anew that nothing will 
suffice to lead me away from fulfilling the function imposed on me. 
But since those soldiers, evidently misunderstanding your intention, 
turned out to be great ruffians, and even threatened my life, I think 
that I should have hit upon *your thought if I had commanded to 
hang them. Because I did not do so, I beg your forgiveness ; still 
J gave orders to flog them properly with bullock -skin whips, which 
punishment, if your Great Mighty Lordship considers it too small, 
vou can increase according to your will. With this, hoping that 1 
liave earned the increased confidence and gratitude of your Serene 
Great Mighty Lordship, 1 subscribe myself the faithful and well- 
wishing servant of your Serene Great Mighty Lordship. 


The dragoons, when tliey had dragged themselves to 
Zaniost late at night, did not dare to appear before the eyes 
of their ma.ster; therefore he learned of the whole matter 
from this letter which the Krasnystav Cossa(^k brought next 

After he had read Kniita's letter, Zamoyski shut himself 
up in his rooms for three days, admitting no attendant save 
the chamber servants, who brought him his food. They 
heard, also, how he swore in French, which he did only 
when he was in the greatest fury. 

Hy degrees, however, the storm was allayed. On the 
fourth day and fifth Zamoyski was still very silent ; he was 
ruminating over something and pulling at his mustache ; 
in a week, when he was very pleasant and hail drunk a 
little at table, he began to twirl his mustache, not to pull it, 
and said to Princess Griselda, — 

" Lady Sister, you know that there is no lack of penetra- 
tion in me ; a couple of days ago I tested of purpose that 
noble who took Anusia, and I can assure you that he will 
take her faithfully to Pan Sapyelia." 

About a month later, as it seems. Pan Sobiepan turned 
his heart in another direction ; and besides he became alto- 
gether convinced that what had happened, happened with 
his will and knowledge. 

1 Zamoyski was starosta of KalaJ. 



The province of Lyubelsk and the greater part of 
Podlyasye were almost completely in the hands of Poles, 
that is, of the confederates and Sapyeha's men. Since the 
King of Sweden remained in Prussia, where he was treating 
with the elector, the Swedes, not feeling very powerful in 
presence of the general uprising, which increased every day, 
dared not come out of the towns and castles, and still less to 
cross to the eastern side of the Vistula, where the Polish 
forces were greatest. In tliose two provinces, therefore, the 
Poles were laboring to form a considerable and well-ordered 
army, able to meet the regular soldiers of Sweden. In the 
provincial towns they were training infantry, and since the 
peasants in general had risen, there was no lack of volun- 
teers ; it was only necessary to organize in bodies and regular 
commands those chaotic masses of men frequently dangerous 
to their own country. 

The district captains betook themselves to this labor. 
Besides, the king had issued a number of commissions to old 
and tried soldiers ; troops were enrolled in all provinces, 
and since there was no lack of military people in those 
regions, squadrons of perfect cavalry were formed. Some 
went west of the Vistula, others to Charnyetski, still otliers 
to Sapyeha. Such multitudes had taken arms that Yan 
Kazimir's forces were already more numerous than those 
of the Swedes, 

A country over whose weakness all Europe had recently 
wondered, gave now an example of power unsuspected, not 
only by its enemies, but by its own king, and even by tliose 
whose faithful hearts, a few months before, had been rent 
by pain and despair. Money was found, as well as en- 
thusiasm and bravery ; the most despairing souls were con- 
vinced that there is no position, no fall, no weakness from 
which there may not be a deliverance, and that where 
children are born consolation cannot die. 

Kmita went on without hindrance, gathering on his road 
unquiet spirits, who joined the chambul with readiness, 
hoping to find most blood and plunder in company with 


the Tartars. These he changed easily into good and prompt 
soldiers, for he had the gilt to make his subordinates fear 
and obey. He was greeted joyously on the road, and that 
by reason of the Tartars ; for the sight of them convinced 
men that the Khan was indeed coming with succor to the 
Commonwealth. It was declared openly that forty thou- 
sand chosen Tartar cavalry were marching to strengthen 
Sapyeha. Wonders were told of the "modesty" of these 
allies, — how they committed no violence or murder on the 
road. They were shown as an example to the soldiers of 
the country. 

Pan Sapyeha was quartered temporarily at Byala. His 
forces were composed of about ten thousand regular troops, 
cavalry and infantrjr. They were the remnants of the 
Lithuanian armies, increased by new men. The cavalry, 
especially some of the squadi'ons, surpassed in valor and 
training the Swedisli horsemen; but the infantry were 
badly trained, and lacked firearms, powder, and cannon. 
Sapyeha had thought to find these in Tykotsin ; but the 
Swedes, by blowing themselves up with the powder, de- 
stroyed at the same time all the cannons of the castle. 

Besides these forces there were in the neighborhood of 
Byala twelve thousand general militia from all Lithuania, 
Mazovia, and Podlyasye; but from few of these did the 
voevoda promise himself service, especially since having an 
immense number of wagons they hindered movement and 
turned the army into a clumsy, unwieldy multitude. 

Kmita thought of one thing in entering Byala. There 
were under Sapyeha so many nobles from Lithuania and 
so many of Radzivill's officers, his former acquaintances, 
that he feared they would recognize him and cut him to 
pieces before he could cry, " Jesus ! Mary ! " 

His name was detested in Sapyeha's camp and in all 
Lithuania; for men still preserved in vivid remembrance 
the fact that while serving Prince Yanush, he had cut down 
those squadrons which, opposing the hetman, had declared 
for the country. 

Pan Andrei had changed much, and this gave him com- 
fort. First, he had become thin ; second, he had the scar 
on his face from Boguslav's bullet ; finally, he wore a beard, 
rather long, pointed in Swedish fashion, and his mustache 
he combed upward, so that he was more like some Erickson 
than a Polish noble. 

** If there is not a tumult against me at once, men will 

VX>L. II. — 18 


judge me differently after the first battle," thought Kmita, 
when entering Byala. 

He arrived in the evening, announced who he was, whence 
he had come, that be was bearing letters from the king, 
and asked a special audience of the voevoda. 

The voevoda received him graciously because of the 
warm recommendation of the king, who wrote, — 

** We send to you our most faithful servant, who is called the 
Hector of Cheustohova, from the time of the siege of that glorious 
place; and he has saved our freedom and life at the risk of his own 
duriug our passage through the mountains. Have him in special 
cai*e, so that no injustice come to him from the soldiers. We 
know his real name, and the reasons for which he servos under au 
assumed one; no man is to hold him in suspicion because of this 
change, or suspect him of intrigues." 

" But is it not possible to know why you bear an assumed 
name ? " asked the voevoda. 

" I am under sentence, and cannot make levies in my own 
name. The king gave me a commission^ and I can make 
levies as Babinich." 

" Why do you want levies if you have Tartars ? " 

" For a greater force would not be in the way." 

" And why are you under sentence ? " 

" Under the command and protection of whomsoever I 
go, him I ought to tell all as to a father. My real name is 

The voevoda pushed back a couple of steps, — 

" He who promised Boguslav to carry off our king, living 
or dead ? " 

Kmita related with all his energy how and what had 
happened, — how, befogged by Prince Yauush, he had served 
the Radzivills ; how he had learned their real purposes from 
the mouth of Boguslav, and then carried off tlie latter and 
thus incurred his implacable vengeance. 

The voevoda believed, for he could not refuse belief, es- 
pecially since the king's letter confirmed the truth of 
Kmita's words. Besides, his soul was so delighted in the 
voevoda that he would at that moment have pressed his 
worst enemy to his heart and forgiven Jiis greatest offence. 
This delight was caused by the following passage in the 
king's letter : — 

** Though the grand baton of Lithuania, unused now after the 
death of the voevoda of Vilna, can by usual procedure be given to 


a successor only at the Diet, still in the present extraordinary cir- 
cumstances, disregarding the usual course, We give this baton to 
you, greatly cherished by us, for the good of the Commonwealth 
and your memorahh> services, thinking justly that, God giving 
peace, no voice at the coming Diet will be raised against this our 
choice, and that our act will Snd general approval." 

Pan Sapyeha, as was said then in the Commonwealth, 
" had pawned his coat and sold his last silver spoon ; " he 
had not served his country for profit, nor for honors. Hut 
even the most disinterested man is glad to see that his ser 
vices are appreciated, that they are rewarded with gratitude, 
that his virtue is recognized. Therefore Sapyeha's serious 
face was uncommonly radiant. 

This act of the king adorned the house of Sapyeha with 
new splendor ; and to tliis no " kinglet " of that time was 
indifferent, — it were well had there been none to strive for 
elevation per nefas (through injustice). Therefore Pan 
Sapyeha was ready to do for the king what was in his 
power and what was out of his t)Ower. 

'* Since I am hetman," said he to Kmita, "you come under 
my jurisdiction and are under my guardianship. There is 
a multitude here of the general militia, hence tumult is 
near; therefore do not show yourself over-much till I warn 
the soldiers, and remove that calumny which Boguslav cast 
on you.'' 

Kmita thanked him from his heart, and then spoke of 
Anusia, whom he had brought to Hyala. In answer the 
hetman fell to scolding, but being in excellent humor he 
scolded joyously. 

" You made a fool of Sobiepan, as God is dear to me ! 
He sits there with his sister inside the walls of Zaraost, as 
with the Lord God, behind the stove, and thinks that every 
one can do as he does, — raise the skirts of his coat, turn to 
the fire, and warm his back. I know the Podbipientas, for 
they are related to the Bjostovskis, and the Bjostovskis to 
me. The fortune is a lordly one, that is not to be denied ; 
but though war with the Northerners has weakened it for a 
time, still people are alive yet in those regions. Where 
can anything be found, where any courts, any officers ? 
Who will take the property and put the young hidy in pos- 
session ? They have gone stark mad ! Hoguslav is sitting 
on my shoulders ; 1 have my duties in the army, but they 
would have nie till my head with women." 

" She is not a woman, but a cherry," said Kmita. " She 


is nothing however to me. They asked me to bring her 
here ; I have brought her. They asked me to give her to 
you ; I give her." 

The hetman then took Kmita by the ear ami said : " But 
who knows, protector, in what form you have brought her ? 
(lod preserve us, people may say that from the guardiausiiip 
of Sapyeha she has suffered ; and I, old man, shall have to 
keep my eyes open. What did you do at the stopping- 
places? Tell me right away, Pagan, did you not learn 
from your Tartars some heathen customs ? " 

" At the stopping-places," answered Kmita, jestingly, " 1 
commanded my attendants to plough my skin with discipline, 
so as to drive out the less worthy motives, which have their 
seat under the skin, and which I confess were plaguing me 
worse than horseflies." 

" Ah, you see — Is she a worthy maiden ? " 

** Really so ; and terribly pretty." 

" And the Turk was at hand ? " 

" But she is as honest as a nun ; that I must say for her. 
And as to suffering I think that would come sooner from 
the Zamoyski guardianship than from you." 

Here Kmita told what had taken place and how. Then the 
hetman fell to clapping him on the shoulder and laughing, — 

** Well, you are a crafty fellow ! Not in vain do they tell 
so much of Kmita. Have no fear ! Pan Zamoyski is not a 
stubborn man, and he is my friend. His first anger will 
pass, and he will even laugh at it himself and reward you." 

** I need no reward ! " interrupted Kmita. 

" It is well that you have ambition and are not looking 
for favor. Only serve me* a<,'ainst Boguslav, and you will 
not need to think of piust outlawry. *' 

Sapyeha was astonished when \w looked at the soldier's 
face, which a moment before was so open and joyous. 
Kmita at mention of Hoguslav grew pale in an instant, and 
his face took on wrinkles like the face of a dog, when pre- 
paring to bite. 

"Would that the traitor were poisoned with his own 
spittle, if he could only fall into my hands before his 
death!" said he, gloomily. 

" I do not wonder at your venom. Have a care, though, 
that 3^our anger does not choke your adroitness, for you 
have to deal with no common man. It is well tliat the king 
sent you hither. You will attack Boguslav for me, as you 
once did Hovanski." 


" I will attack him better ! " said Kmita, with the same 

With this the conversation ended. Kmita went away 
to sleep in his quarters, for he was wearied from the 

Meanwhile the news spread through the army that the 
king had sent the baton to their beloved chief. Joy burst 
out like a flame among thousands of men. The officers of 
various squadrons hurried to the quarters of the hetman. 
The sleeping town sprang up from its slumber. Bonfires 
were kindled. Standard-l^arers came with their standards. 
Trumpets sounded and kettle-drums thundered ; discharges 
from muskets and cannon roared. Pan Sapyeha ordered a 
lordly feast, and they applauded the whole night through, 
drinking to the health of the king, the hetman, and to the 
coming victory over Boguslav. 

Pan Andrei, iis was agreed, was not present at the feast. 

The hetman at the table began a conversation about 
Boguslav, and not telling who that officer was who had 
come with the Tartars and brought the baton, he spoke in 
general of the perversity of Boguslav. 

" Both Radzivills," said he, " were fond of intrigues, but 
Prince Boguslav goes beyond his dead cousin. You remem- 
ber, gentlemen, Kmita, or at least you have heard of him. 
Now imagine to yourselves, what Boguslav reported — that 
Kmita offered to raise his hand on the king our lord — was 
not true.'' 

** Still Kmita helped Yanush to cut down good cavaliers." 

"It is true that he helped Yanush; but at last he saw 
what he was doing, and then not only did he leave the ser- 
vice, but as you know, being a man of daring, he attacked 
Boguslav. It was close work there for the young prince, 
and he barely escaped with his lif'^? from Kmita's hands." 

" Kmita was a great soldier ! " answered many voices. 

"The prince through revenge invented against him a cal- 
umny at which the soul shudders." 

"The devil could not have invented a keener ! " 

"'Do you know that I have in my hands proofs in black 
and white that that was revenge for the change in Kmita ? ' ' 

"To put infamy in such away on any one's name ! Only 
Boguslav could do that ! To sink such a soldier 1 " 

" I have heard this," continued the hetman : " Kmita, see- 
ing that nothing remained for him to do in this region, hur- 
ried off to Chonstohova, rendered there famous services, and 
then defended the king with his own breast." 


Hearing this, the same soldiers who would have cut 
Kmita to pieces with their sabres liegaii to speak of him 
more and more kindly. 

"Kmita will not forgive the ciilunmy, he is not such a 
man ; he will fall on Boguslav." 

"Boguslav has insulted all soldiers, by casting such in- 
famy on one of them." 

" Kmita was cruel and violent, but he was n(»t a parricide." 

" He will have vengeance ! " 

** We will be first to take vengeance for him ! " 

*^If you, serene great mighty hctman, guarantee this with 
your office, it must have been so." 

" It was so ! " said the hetnian. 

And they lacked little of drinking Kniita's health. But 
in truth there were very violent voices against this, espe* 
cially among the former officers of Radzivill. Hearing 
these, tlie hetman said, — 

" And do you know, gentlemen, how this Kmita comes 
to my mind ? Babinich, the king's courier, resembles him 
much. At the first moment I was mistaken myself." 

Here Sapyeha began to look around with more severity 
and to speak with greater seriousness, — 

"Though Kmita were to come here himself, since he has 
changed, since he has defended a holy place with immense 
bravery, I should defend him with my office of hetman. I 
ask you therefore, gentlemen, to raise no disturbance here 
by reason of this newly arrived. I ask you to remember 
that he has come here by appointment of the king and the 
Khan. But especially do I recommend this to you who 
are captains in the general militia, for with you it is harder 
to preserve discipline." 

Whenever Sapyeha spoke thus, Zagloba alone dared to 
murmur, all others would sit in obedience, and so they sat 
now ; but when the hetman's face grow gladsome again, all 
rejoiced. The goblets moving swiftly filled the measure of 
rejoicing, and the whole town was thundering till morning, 
so that the walls of houses were shaking on tlu*ir founda- 
tion, and the smoke of salutes veiled them, as in time of 

Next morning »Sapyeha sent Anusia to Grodno with Pan 
Kotchyts. In Grodno, from which Hovanski had long 
since withdrawn, the voevoda's family was living. 

Poor Anusia, whose head the handsome Babinich had 
turned somewhat, took farewell of him very tenderly; but 



he was on his guard, and only at the very parting did he say 
to her, — 

" Were it not for one devil which sits in my heart like a 
thorn, I should surely have fallen in love with you to kill.'' 

Anusia thought to herself that there is no splinter which 
may not be picked out with patience and a needle ; but she 
feared somewhat this Babinich, therefore she said nothing, 
sighed quietly, and departed. 



A WEEK after the departure of Anusia witli Kotchyts, 
Sapyeha's camp was still at Byala. Kmita, with the Tar- 
tars, was ordered to the neighborhood of Rokitno ; he was 
resting too, for the horses needed food and rest after the 
long road. Prince Michael Kaziniir Radzivill, the owner 
pf the place by inheritance, came also to Byala ; he was a 
powerful magnate of the Nyesvyej branch of Radzivills, of 
whom it was said that they had inherited from the Kishkis 
alone seventy towns and four hundred villages. This Rad- 
zivill resembled in nothing his kinsmen of Birji. Not less 
ambitious perhaps than they, but differing in faith, an ar- 
dent patriot, and an adherent of the lawful king, he joined 
with his whole soul the confederacy of Tyshovtsi, and 
strengthened it as best he could. His immense posses- 
sions were, it is true, greatly ravaged by the last war, but 
still he stood at the head of considerable forces and brought 
the hetman no small aid. 

Not so much, however, did the number of his soldiers 
weigh in the balance as the fact that Radzivill stood against 
Radzivill ; in this way the last seeming of justice was taken 
from Boguslav, and his acts were covered with the open 
character of invasion and treason. 

Therefore Sapyeha saw Prince Michael in his camp with 
delight. He was certain now that he would overcome Bo- 
guslav, for he surpassed him much in power ; but according 
to his custom he weighed his plans slowly, stopped, con- 
sidered, and summoned councils of officers. 

Kmita also was at these councils. He so hated the name 
Radzivill that at first sight of Prince Michael he trembled 
from anger and rage; but Michael knew how to win people 
by his countenance alone, on which beauty was united with 
kindness. The great qualities of this Radzivill, the griev- 
ous times which he had recently passed while defending the 
country from Zolotarenko and Serebryani, his genuine love 
for the king, made him one of the most honorable cavaliers 
of his time. His very presence in the camp of Sapyeha, 


the rival of the house of Radzivill, testified how far the 
young prince knew how to sacrifice private to public affairs. 
Whoso knew him was forced to love him. This feeling could 
not be resisted even by the passionate Kmita, despite his 
first opposition. 

Finally the prince captivated the heart of Pan Andrei by 
his advice. 

This advice was not merely to move against Boguslav, 
but to move without negotiations, to dash upon him at once : 
*^ Do not let him take castles ; give him neither rest nor 
chance to draw breath ; make war upon him with his own 
method.*' In such decision the prince saw speedy and cer- 
tain victory. 

** It cannot l)e that Karl Gustav has not moved also ; we 
must have our hands free, therefore, as soon as possible, and 
hasten to succor Charnyetski.'' 

Of the same opinion was Kmita, who had been fighting 
three days with his old evil habit of self-will so as to re- 
strain himself from advancing without orders. 

But Sapyeha liked to act with certainty, he feared every 
inconsiderate step; therefore he determined to wait for 
surer intelligence. 

And the hetman had his reasons. The reported expedi- 
tion of Boguslav against Podlyasye might be only a snare, 
a trick of war. Perhaps it was a feigned expedition with 
small forces, to ))revent the junction of Sapyeha with the 
king. That done, Boguslav would escape from before Sa- 
pyeha, receiving battle nowhere, or delaying; but mean- 
w^hile Karl Gustav with the elector would strike Charnv- 
etski, crush him with superior forces, move against the 
king himself, and smother the work in its inception, — the 
work of defence created by the glorious example of Chen- 
stohova. Sapyeha was not only a leader, but a statesman. 
He explained his reasons with power at the councils, so 
that even Kmita was forced in his soul to agree with him. 
First of all, it was incumbent to know what course to take. 
If Boguslav's invasion proved to be merely a trick, it was 
sufficient to send a number of squadrons against him, and 
move with all speed to Charny etski against the chief power 
of the enemy. The hetman might leave boldly a few or 
even more squadrons, for his forces were not all around 
Byala. Young Pan Krishtof, or the so-called Kryshtofek 
Sapyeha, was posted with two light squadrons and a regi- 
ment of infantry at Yavorov; Horotkyevich was moving 


around Tykotsin, having under him half a dragoon regi- 
ment very well trained, and five hundred volunteers, be- 
sides a light horse squadron named for Sai)yehaj and in 
Byalystok were land infantry. 

These forces would more tlian sufiice to stand against 
Boguslav, if he had only a few hundred horses. 

But the clear-sighted hetman sent couriers in every direc- 
tion and waited for tidings. 

At last tidings came ; but like thunderbolts, and all the 
more so that by a peculiar concurrence of circumstances all 
came in one evening. 

They were just at council in the castle of Hyala when an 
officer of orderlies entered and gave a letter to the hetman. 
Barely had the hetman cast eyes on it when he changed in 
the face and said, — 

" My relative is cut to pieces at Yavorov by Boguslav 
himself; hardly has he escaped with his life." 

A moment of silence followed. 

"The letter is written in Bransk, in fright and confu- 
sion," said he ; " therefore it contains not a word touching 
Boguslav's power, which must, I think, be considerable, 
since, as I read, two squadrons and a regiment of infantry 
are cut to pieces. It must be, however, that Boguslav fell 
on them unawares. The letter gives nothing positive." 

" I am certain now," said Prince Michael, ** that Bogus- 
lav wants to seize all Podlyasye, so as to nuike of it a sepa- 
rate or feudal possession in the treaties. Therefore he has 
surely come with as much power as he could possibly get. 
T have no other proofs save a knowledge of Boguslav. He 
cares neither for the Swedes nor the Brandenburgers, only 
for himself. He is an uncommon warrior, who trusts in his 
fortunate star. He wants to win a province, to avenge 
Yanush, to cover himself with glory; and to do this he 
must have a corresponding power, and has it, otherwise he 
would not march on us." 

" For everything the blessing of God is indispensable," 
said Oskyerko ; " and the blessing is with us ! " 

"Serene great mighty hetman," said Kmitii, "informa- 
tion is needed. Let me loose from the leash with my Tar- 
tars, and I will bring you information." 

Oskyerko, who had been admitted to the secret and knew 
who Babinich was, supported the proposal at once and with 

" As God is good to me, that is the best idea in the world ! 


Such a man is needed there, and such troops. If only the 
horses are rested." 

Here Oskyerko was stopped, for the officer of orderlies 
entered the room again. 

" Serene great mighty hetman ! " said he. 

Sapyeha slapped his knees and exclaimed . ** They have 
news I Admit them.'' 

After a while two light-horsemen entered, tattered and 

" From Horotkyevich ? " asked Sapyeha. 

** Yes." 

" Where is he now ? " 

'* Killed, or if not killed, we know not where he is." 

The hetman rose, but sat down again and inquired 
i-almly, — 

" Where is the squadron ? " 

** Swept away V)y Prince Boguslav." 

*' Were many lost ? " 

" We were cut to i)ieees ; maybe a few were left who were 
taken captive like us. Some say that the colonel escaped ; 
but that he is wounded I saw myself. We escaped from 

" Where were you attacked ? '* 

" At Tykotsin." 

"Why did you not go inside the walls, not being in 
force ? " 

*' Tykotsin is taken." 

The hetman covered his eyes for a moment with his hand, 
then he began to pass his hand over his forehead. 

" Is there a large force with Boguslav ? " 

*' Four thousand cavalry, besides infantry and cannon ; 
the infantry very well trained. The cavalry moved for- 
ward, taking us with thein ; but luckily yve escaped." 

" Whence did you escape ? ^ 

** From Drohicliyn/' 

Sapyeha opened wide his eyes : *' You are drunk. How 
could Boguslav come to Drohichyn ? When did he defeat 
you ? '' 

"Two weeks ago." 

" And is he in Drohichyn ? " 

"His scouting-parties are. He remained in the rear him- 
self, for some convoy is captured which Pan Kotchyts was 

" He was conducting Panna Horzobogati ! " cried Kmlta. 


A silence followed. Boguslav's success, and so sudden, 
had confused the officers beyond measure. All thought in 
their hearts that the hetman was to blame for delay, but no 
one dared say so aloud. 

Sapyeha, however, felt that he had done what was proper, 
and had acted wisely. Therefore he recovered first from 
the surprise, sent out the men with a wave of his hand, and 
said, — 

" These are ordinary incidents of war, which should con- 
fuse no one. Do not think, gentlemen, that we have suf- 
fered any defeat. Those regiments are a loss surely ; but 
the loss might have been a hundred times greater if Bogus- 
lav had enticed us to a distant province. He is coming to 
us. We will go out to meet him like hospitable hosts." 

Here he turned to the colonels : ** According to my or- 
ders all must be ready to move ? '' 

" They are ready," said Oskyerko. " Only saddle the 
horses and sound the trumpet.'' 

" Sound it to-day. We move in the morning at dawn, 
without fail. Pan Habinich will galloj) ahead with his 
Tartars, and seize with all haste informants.'* 

Kmita had barely heard this when he was outside tiie 
door, and a moment later hurrying on as his horse could 
gallop to Rokitno. 

And Sapyeha also did not delay long. 

It was still night when the trumpets gave out their 
prolonged sounds ; then cavalry and infantry poured forth 
into the field j after them stretched a long train of squeak 
ing wagons. The first gleams of day were reflected on 
musket-barrels and spear-points. 

And they marched, regiment after regiment, squadron 
after squadron, in great regularity. The cavalry sang then- 
matins, and the horses snorted sharply in the morning cool 
ness, from which the soldiers predicted sure victory tor 

Their hearts were full of consolation ; for the knighthood 
kAew from experience that Sapyeha weighed everything, 
that he labored with his head, that he considered every un- 
dertaking from both sides, that when he began a thing he 
would finish it, and when he moved he would strike. 

At Rokitno the lairs of the Tartars were cold ; they had 
gone the night before, hence must have pushed far in ad- 
vance. It surprised Sapyeha that along the road it was 
difficult to learn anything of them, though the division. 


numbering, with volunteer, several hundred, could not pass 
without being seen. 

The most experienced officers wondered greatly at this 
march, and at Pan Babinich for being able to lead in such 

** Like a wolf he goes through the willows, and like a 
wolf he will bite," said they; "he is as if born for the 

But Oskyerko, who, as has been said, knew who Babinich 
was, said to Sapyelia, — 

** It was not for nothing that Hovanski put a price on 
his head. God will give victory to whom he chooses; 
but this is sure, that war with us will soon be bitter for 

" But it is a pity that Babinich has vanished as if he had 
fallen into water," answered the hetman. 

Three days passed without tidings. Sapyeha's main forces 
had reached Drohichyn, had crossed the Bug, and found no 
enemy in front. The hetman began to be disturbed. Ac- 
cording to the stiitements of the light horse, Boguslav's 
scouts had reached Drohichyn ; it was evident therefore 
that Boguslav had determined to withdraw. But what 
was the meaning of this withdrawal ? Had Boguslav 
learned that Sapyeha's forces were superior, and was he 
afraid to measure strength with him, or did he wish to en- 
tice the hetman far toward the north, to lighten for the 
King of Sweden his attack on Charnyetski and the hetmaus 
of the kingdom ? Babinich was to find an informant and 
let the hetman know. The reports of the light horse as to 
the number of Boguslav's troops might be erroneous ; hence 
the need of precise information at the earliest. 

Meanwhile five days more passed, and Babinich gave no 
account of himself. Si)ring was coming; the days were 
growing warmer; the snow was melting. The neighbor- 
hoods were being covered with water, under which were 
sleeping morasses which hindered the march in an unheard 
of degree. The greater pai*t of the cannons and wagons 
the hetman had to leave in Drohichyn, and go farther on 
horsebacik. Hence great inconvenience and murmuring, 
especially among the general militia. In Bransk they 
came upon such mud that even the infantry could not 
march farther. The hetman collected on the road horses 
from peasants and small nobles, and seated musketeers on 
them. The light cavalry took others ; but they had gone 


too far already, and the hetmau understood that only one 
thing remained, — to advance with all speed. 

Boguslav retreated unceasingly. Along the road they 
found continual traces of him in villages burned here and 
there, in corpses of men hanging on trees. The small 
local nobles came every little while with information to 
Sapyeha; but the truth was lost, as is usual in contradic- 
tory statements. One saw a single squadron, and swore 
that the prince had no more troops ; another saw two ; a 
third three, a fourth an army live miles long. Jn a word 
they were fables such as men tell who know nothing of 
armies or war. 

They had seen Tartars, too, here and there ; but the stories 
concerning them seemed most improbable, for it was said 
that they were seen not behind the prince's army, but in 
front, marching ahead. Sapyeha panted angrily when any 
one mentioned Babinich in his presence, and he said to 
Oskyerko, — 

" You overrated him. In an evil hour I sent away Vo- 
lodyovski, for if he were here I should have had long ago 
as many informants as I need ; but Babinich is a whirl- 
wind, or even worse. Who knows, he may in truth have 
joined Boguslav and be marching in the vanguard." 

Oskyerko himself did not know what to think. Mean- 
while another week passed; the army had come to 

It was midday. 

Two hours later the vanguard gave notice that some de- 
tachment was approaching. 

** It may be Babinich ! " cried the hetman. ** 1 '11 give 
him Pater Nosterf " 

It was not Babinich himself. But in the camp there rose 
such commotion over the arrival of this detachment that 
Sapyeha went out to see what was taking j)lace. 

Meanwhile oftieers from different squadrons flew in, 
crying, — 

" From Babinich ! Prisoners ! A whole band ! He seized 
a crowd of men ! " 

Indeed the hetman saw a number of tens of men on poor, 
ragged horses. Babinich's Tartars drove nearly three hun- 
dred men with bound hands, beating them with bullock-skin 
whips. The prisoners presented a terrible sight. They 
were rather shadows than men. With torn clothing, half 
naked, so poor that the bones were pushing through their 


skin, bloody, they marched half alive, indifferent to all 
things, even to the whistle of the whips which cut them, 
and to the wild shouts of the Tartars. 

" What kind of men are they ? " asked the hetman. 

" Boguslav- s troops ! " answered one of Kmita's volun- 
teers who had brought the prisoners together with the 

** But where did you get so many ? " 

"Nearly half as many more fell on the road, from 

With this an old Tartar, a sergeant in tlie horde, ap- 
proached, and beating with the forehead, gave a letter 
from Kmita to Sapyeha. 

The hetman, without delay, broke the seal and began to 
read aloud : — 

* ' Serene groat mighty hetman ! If I have sent neither news nor 
informants with news hitherto, it is because 1 went in front, and 
not in the rear of Prince Boguslav's army, and I wished to learn the 
most possible." 

The hetman stopped reading. 

" That is a devil ! " said he. " Instead of following the 
prince, he went ahead of him." 

" ^lay the bullets strike him ! " added Oskyerko, in an 

The hetman read on. 

*' It was dangerous work, as Boguslav's scouts marched in a wide 
front ; but after I liad cut down two parties and spared none, I 
worked to the van of the army, from which movement great confu 
sion came upon the prince, for he fell to thitiking at once that be 
was surrouTidcd, and as it were was crawling into ii trap.*' 

'' That is the reason of this unexpected withdrawal ! " cried 
the hetman. " A devil, a genuine devil ! " 
He read on with still more curiosity, — 

*' The prince, not understanding what had happened, began to 
lose his head, and sent out party after party, whicb we cut up nota- 
bly, so tbat none of tbem returned in the same nunil>er. Marching 
in advance, we seized provisions, cut dams, destroyed bridges, so that 
Boguslav's men advanced with great trouble, neither sleejiing nor 
eating, having rest neither day nor night. They could not stir from 
the camp, for the Tartars seized the unwary ; and when the camp 
was sleeping, the Tartars howled terribly in the willows; so the en- 


emy, thinking that a great army was moving on them, had to stand 
under arms all nig^ht. The prince was brought to great despair, not 
knowing what to begin, where to go, how to turn, — for this reason 
it is needful to march on him quickly, before his fear passes. He 
had six thousand troops, but has lost nearly a thousand. His horses 
are dying. His cavalry is good ; his infantry is passable; God, how- 
ever, has granted that from day to day it decreases, and if our army 
comes up it will fly apart. I seized in Byalystuk the prince's car- 
riages, some of his provision chests and things of value, with two 
cannons; but I was forced to throw most of these into the river. 
The traitor from continual rage has grown seriously ill, and is 
barely able to »\t on his horse; fever leaves him neither night nor 
day. Panua Borzobogati is taken, but being ill the prince can make 
no attack on her honor. These reports, with the account of Bo- 
guslav's desperation, 1 got from the prisoners whom my Tartars 
touched up with fire, and who if they are touched again will repeat 
the truth. Now I commend my obedient services to you, serene 
great mighty hetnian, begging for forgiveness if I have erred. 
The Tartars are good fellows, and seeing a world of plunder, serve 

" Serene great mighty lord," said Oskyerko, " now you 
surely regret less that Volodyovski is away, for he could 
not equal this devil incarnate. Oh, he is an ambitious piece ; 
he even hurled the truth into the eyes of Prince Yanush, not 
caring whether it was pleasant or unpleasant for that het- 
man to hear it. This was his style with Hovauski, but 
Hovanski had fifteen times more troops." 

" If that is true, we need to advance at the greatest speed," 
said Sapyeha. 

" Before the prince can collect his wits." 

** Let us move on, by the dear God ! Babinich will cut 
the dams, and we will overtake Boguslav ! " 

Meanwhile the prisoners, whom the Tartars had kept in a 
group in front of Sapyeha, seeing the hetnian, fell to groan- 
ing and weeping, showing their misery and calling for mercy 
in various tongues; for there were among them Swedes, 
Germans, and the Scottish guards vi Prince Boguslav. 
Sapyeha took them from the Tartars, and gave command to 
feed them and take their testimony without torture. Their 
statements confirmed the truth of Kmita's words ; therefore 
the rest of Sapyeha's army advanced at groat speed. 



Kmtta's next report came from Sokolka, and was brief . 

** The prince, to mislead our troops, has feigned a march toward 
Shchuchyn, whither he has sent a party. He has gone himself with 
his main force to Yaiiov, and has received there a reinforcement of 
infantry, led by Captain Kyritz, eight hundred good men. From 
the place where we are the prince's fires are visible. In Yanov he 
intends to rest one week. The prisoners say that he is ready for 
battle. The fever is shaking him continually.*' 

On receipt of this statement Sapyeha, leaving the remain- 
der of his cannon and wagons, moved on with cavalry to 
Sokolka ; and at last the two armies stood eye to eye. It 
was foreseen too that a battle was unavoidable ; for on one 
side they could flee no longer, the others pursuing. Mean- 
while, like wrestlers who after a long chase are to seize each 
other by the bodies, they lay opposite each other, catching 
breath in their panting throats, and resting. 

When the hetman saw Kmita he seized him by the shoul- 
ders, and said, — 

" I was angry with you for not giving an account of your- 
self for so long, but I see that you have accomplished more 
than I could hope for ; and if God gives victory, not mine 
but yours will be the merit. You went like an angel guar- 
dian after Boguslav.'' 

An ill-omened light gleamed in Kmita's eyes. " If I am 
his angel guardian, I must be present at his death." 

" God will order that," said the hetman, seriously ; " but 
if you wish the Lord to bless you, then pursue the enemy of 
the country, not your own." 

Kmita bowed in silence ; but it could not be learned 
whether the beautiful words of the hetman made any im- 
pression on him. His face expressed implacable hatred, and 
was the more threatening that the toil of pursuit after Bo- 
guslav had emaciated it still more. Formerly in that coun- 
tenance was depicted only daring and insolent wildness ; now 
it had become also stern and inexorable. You could easily 
see that he against whom that man had recorded ven- 

TOL. II. — 19 


geance in his soul ought to guard himself, even if he were 

He had, in truth, avenged himself terribly. The services 
he had rendered in that campaign were immense. By push- 
ing himself in front of Boguslav he had beaten him from 
the road, had made his reckoning false, had fixed in him 
the conviction that he was surrounded, and had forced him 
to retreat Further he went before him night and day. He 
destroyed scouting-parties ; he was without mercy for pris- 
oners. In Syemyatiche, in Botski, in Orel and Byelsk he 
had fallen in the dark night on the whole camp. 

In Voishki, not far from Zabludovo, in a purely Radzivill 
country, he had fallen like a blind hurricane on the quar- 
ters of the prince himself, so that Boguslav, who had just 
sat down to dinner, almost fell into his hands ; and ths^ks 
to Sakovich alone, did he take out his head alive. 

At Byalystok Kmita seized the carriages and camp-chests 
of Boguslav. He wearied, weakened, and inflicted hunger 
on Boguslav's troops. The choice German infantry and 
•Swedish cavalry which the prince had brought with him 
were like walking skeletons, from wandering, from sur- 
prises, from sleeplessness. The mad howling of the Tartars 
and Kmita's volunteers was heard in front of them, at the 
flanks, and in the rear. Scarcely had a wearied soldier 
closed his eyes when he had to seize his weapons. The 
farther on, the worse the condition. 

The small nobility inhabiting those neighborhoods joined 
with the Tartars, partly through hatred of the Radzivills of 
Birji, partly through fear of Kmita; for he punished beyond 
measure those who resisted. His forces increased there- 
fore ; those of Boguslav melted. 

Besides, Boguslav himself was really ill ; and though in the 
heart of that man care never had its nest long, and though 
the astrologers, whom he believed blindly, had foretold him 
in Prussia that his person would meet no harm in that expe- 
dition, his ambition suffered harshly more than once. He, 
whose name had been repeated with admimtion in the Neth- 
erlands, on the Rhine, and in France, was beaten every day 
in those deep forests by an unseen enemy, and overcome 
without a battle. 

There was, besides, in that pursuit such uncommon stul> 
bornness and impetuosity passing the usual measure of war, 
that Boguslav with his native quickness divined after a few 
days that some inexorable personal enemy was following 


him. He learned the name Babinich easily, for the whole 
neighborhood repeated it ; but that name was strange to him. 
Not less glad would he be to know the person ; and on the 
road in times of pursuit he arranged tens and hundreds of 
ambushes, — always in vain. Babinich was able to avoid 
traps, and inflicted defeats where they were least expected. 

At last both armies came to the neighborhood of Sokolka. 
Boguslav found there the reinforcement under Kyritz, who, 
not knowing hitherto where the prince was, went to Yanov, 
where the fate of Boguslav's expedition was to be decided. 

Kmita closed hermetically all the roads leading from Ya- 
nov to Sokolka, Korychyn, Kuznitsa, and Suhovola. The 
neighboring forests, willow woods, and thickets were occu- 
pied by the Tartars. Not a letter could pass; no wagon 
with provisions could be brought in. Boguslav himself was 
in a hurry for battle before his last biscuit in Yanov should 
be eaten. 

But as a man of quick wit, trained in every intrigue, he 
determined to try negotiations first. He did not know yet 
that Sapyeha in this kind of intrigue surpassed him greatly 
in reasoning and quickness. From Sokolka then in Bogus- 
lav's name came Pan Sakovich, under-chamberlain and sta- 
rosta of Oshmiana, the attendant and personal friend of 
Prince Boguslav, with a letter and authority to conclude 

This Pan Sakovich was a wealthy man, who reached sena- 
torial dignity later in life, for he became voevoda of Smo- 
lensk and treasurer of the Grand Principality ; he was at 
that time one of the most noted cavaliers in Lithuania, famed 
equally for bravery and beauty. Pan Sakovich was of me- 
dium stature ; the hair of his head and brows was black as a 
raven's wing, but he liad pale blue eyes which gazed with 
marvellous and unspeakable insolence, so that Boguslav said 
of him that he stunned with his eyes as with the back of an 
axe. He wore foreign garments which he brought from 
journeys made with Boguslav; he spoke nearly all lan- 
guages ; in battle he rushed into the greatest whirl so madly 
that among his enemies he was called " the doomed man." 
But, thanks to his uncommon strength and presence of mind, 
he always came out unharmed. It was said that he had 
strength to stop a carriage in its course by seizing the hind 
wheel; he could drink beyond measure, could toss off a 
quart of cream in vodka, and be as sober as if he had taken 
nothing in his mouth. With men he was morose, haughty, 


offensive j in Boguslav's hand he was as soft as wax. His 
manners were polished, and though in the king's chambers 
he knew how to bear himself, he had a certain wildness in 
his spirit which burst forth at times like a flame. 

Pan Sakovich was rather a companion than a servant of 
Boguslav. Boguslav, who in truth had never loved any one 
in his life, had an unconquerable weakness for this man. 
By nature exceedingly sordid, lie was generous to Sakovich 
alone. By his influence he raised him to be under-chamber- 
lain, and had him endowed with the starostaship of Osh- 
miana. After every battle Boguslav's first question was : 
" Where is Sakovich ? has he met with no harm ? " The 
prince depended greatly on the starosta's counsels, and em- 
ployed him in war and in negotiations in which the courage 
and impudence of Sakovich were very effective. 

This time he sent him to Sapyeha. l^ut the mission was 
difficult, — first, because the suspicion might easily fall on 
the starosta that he had come only to spy out and discover 
Sapyeha's strength ; second, because the envoy had much to 
ask and nothing to offer. 

Happily, Pan Sakovich did not trouble himself with 
an3rthing. He entered as a victor who comes to dictate 
terms to the vanquished, and struck Sapyeha with his pale 

Sapyeha smiled when he saw that pride, but half of his 
smile was compassion. Every man may impose much with 
daring and impudence, but on people of a certain measure ; 
the hetman was above the measure of Sakovich. 

"My master, prince in Birji and Duhinki, commander-in 
chief of the armies of his princely liighuoss the elector," 
said Sakovich, "has sent me with a greeting, and to ask 
about the health of your worthiness." 

" Thank the prince, and say that yon saw me well." 

Sapyeha took the letter, opened it carelessly enough, read 
it, and said, — 

"Too bad to lose time. 1 cannot see what the prince 
wants. Do you surrender, or do you wish to try your 
fortune ? " 

Sakovich feigned astonishment. 

" Whether we surrender ? I think that the prince pro- 
poses specially in this letter that you surrender; at least 
my instructions — " 

" Of your instructions we will speak later, my dear Pan 
Sakovich. We have chased you nearly a hundred and fifty 


miles, as a hound does a hare. Have you ever heard of a 
hare proposing to a hound to surrender ? " 

** We have received reinforcements." 

•' Von Kyritz, with eight hundred men, and so tired that 
they will lay down their arms before battle. I will give 
you Hmelnitski's saying . ' There is no time to talk ! ' " 

" The elector with all his power is with us." 

'• That is well, — I shall not have far to seek him ; for I 
wish to ask him by what right he sends troops into the 
Commonwealth, of which he is a vassal, and to which he is 
bound in loyalty." 

" The right of the strongest." 

*' Maybe in Prussia such a right exists, but not with us. 
But if you are the stronger, take the field." 

** The prince would long since have attacked you, were it 
not for kindred blood." 

" I wonder if that is the only hindrance ! " 

** The prince wonders at the animosity of the Sapyehas 
against the house of Radzivill, and that your worthiness 
for private revenge hesitates not to spill the blood of the 

" Tfu ! " cried Kmita, listening behind the hetman*s arm- 
chair to the conversation. 

Pan Sakovich rose, went to Kmita, and struck him witli 
his eyes. But he met his own, or better; and in the eyes 
of Pan Andrei the starosta found such an answer that he 
dropped his glance to the floor. 

The hetman frowned. "Take your seat, Pan Sakovich. 
And do you preserve calm" (turning to Kmita). Then he 
said to Sakovich, — 

" Conscience speaks only the truth, but mouths chew it 
and spit it into the world as calumny. He who with for- 
eign troops attacks a country, inflicts wrong on him who 
defends it. God hears this, and the heavenly chronicler 
will inscribe." 

" Through hatred of the Sapyehas to the Radzivills was 
the prince voevoda of Vilna consumed." 

" I hate traitors, not the Radzivills ; and the best proof of 
this is that I^rince Michael Radzivill is in my camp now. 
Tell me what is your wish?" 

" Your worthiness, I will tell what I have in my heart ; 
he hates who sends secret assassins." 

Pan Sapyeha was astonished in his turn. 

" I send assassins against Prince Boguslav ? " 


" That is the case ! " 

** You have gone mad ! " 

" The other day they caught, beyond Yanov, a murderer 
who once made an attack on the life of the prince. Tor- 
tures brought him to tell who sent him." 

A moment of silence followed ; but in that silence Pan 
Sapyeha heard how Kmita, standing behind him, repeated 
twice through his set lips, " Woe, woe ! " 

" God is my judge," answered the hetman, with real sena- 
torial dignity, " that neither to you nor your prince shall 
I ever justify myself; for you were not made to be my 
judges. But do you, instead of loitering, ^tell directly 
what you have come for, and what conditions your prince 

" The prince, my lord, has destroyed Horotkyevich, has 
defeated Pan Krishtof Sapyeha, taken Tykotsin ; therefore 
he can justly call himself victor, and ask for considerable 
advantages. But regretting the loss of Christian blood, he 
desires to return in quiet to Prussia, requiring nothing more 
than the freedom of leaving his garrisons in the castles. We 
have also taken prisoners not a few, among whom are dis- 
tinguished officers, not counting Panna Anusia Borzobogati, 
who has been sent already to Taurogi. These may be ex- 
changed on equal terms." 

'* Do not boast of your victories, for my advance guard, 
led by Pan Babinich here present, pressed you for a hundred 
and fifty miles ; you retreated before it, lost twice as many 
prisoners as you took previously ; you lost wagons, cannon, 
camp-chests. Your army is fatigued, dropping from hunger, 
has nothing to eat ; you know not whither to turn. You 
have seen my army ; 1 did not ask to have your eyes bound 
purposely, that you might know whether you are able to 
measure forces with us. As to that young lady, she is not 
under my guardianship, but that of Pan Zamoyski and Prin- 
cess Griselda Vishnyevetski. The prince will reckon with 
them if he does her any injustice. But speak with wisdom ; 
otherwise 1 shtill order Pan Babinich to march at once." 

Sakovich, instead of answering, turned to Kmita : " Then 
you are the man who made such onsets on the road ? You 
must have learned your murderous trade under Kmita — " 

" Learn on your own skin whether I practised well ! " 

The hetman again frowned. "You have nothing to do 
here," said he to Sakovich ; " you may go." 

** Your worthiness, give me at least a letter." 


" Let it be so. Wait at Pan Oskyerko's quarters for a 

Hearing tliis, Pan Oskyerko conducted Sakovich at once 
to his quarters. The hetman waved his hand as a parting ; 
then he turned to Pan Andrei. " Why did you say * Woe/ 
when he spoke of that man whom they seized? " asked he, 
looking quickly and severely into the eyes of the knight. 
" Has hatred so deadened your conscience that you really 
sent a murderer to the prince ? " 

"By the Most Holy Lady whom I defended, no!" an- 
swered Kmita ; " not through strange hands did I wish to 
reach his throat.*' 

'* Why did you say * Woe ' ? Do you know that man ? " 

"I know him," answered Kmita, growing pale from emo- 
tion and rage. ** I sent him from LvofP to Taurogi — Prince 
Boguslav took Panna Billevich to Taurogi — I love that 
lady. We were to marry — I sent that man to get me news 
of her. She was in such hands — " 

" Calm yourself I " said the hetman. " Have you given 
him any letters ? " 

"No; she would not read them." 

" Why ? " 

"Boguslav told her that I offered to carry away the 

" Great are your reasons for hating him." 

" True, your worthiness, true." 

" Does the prince know that man ? " 

"He knows him. That is the sergeant Soroka. He 
helped me to carry off Boguslav." 

" I understand," said the hetman ; " the vengeance of the 
prince is awaiting him." 

A moment of silence followed. 

" The prince is in a trap," said the hetman, after a while ; 
" maybe he will consent to give him up." 

" Let your worthiness," said Kmita, "detain Sakovich, and 
send me to the prince. Perhaps 1 may rescue Soroka." 

" Is his fate such a great question for you ? " 

" An old soldier, an old servant ; he carried me in his arms. 
A multitude of times he has saved my life. God would pun- 
ish me were I to abandon him in such straits." And Kmita 
began to tremble from pity and anxiety. 

But the hetman said : " It is no wonder to me that th6 
soldiers love you, for you love them. I will do what I can. 
I will write to the prince that I will free for him whomso- 



ever he wishes for that soldier, who besides at your com 
mand has acted as an innocent agent." 

Kmita seized his head : '* What does he care for prisoners ? 
he will not let him go for thirty of them." 

'* Then he will not give him to you ; he will even attempt 
your life." 

" He would give him for one, — for Sakovich." 

" I cannot imprison Sakovich ; he is an envoy." 

^* Detain him, and I will go with a letter to the prince. 
Perhaps 1 shall succeed — God be with him ! I will aban- 
don my revenge, if he will give me that soldier." 

" Wait," said the hetman ; " I can detain Sakovich. Be- 
sides that I will write to the prince to send me a safe- 
conduct without a name." 

The hetman began to write at once. An hour later a 
Cossack was galloping with a letter to Yanov, and toward 
evening he returned with Boguslav's answer : — 

** 1 send according to i-equest the safe-condact with which every 
envov may return unharmed, though it is a wonder to me that your 
worthiness should ask for a conduct while you have such a hostage 
as my servant and friend Pan Sakovich, for whom I have so much 
Jove that 1 would give all the officers in my army for him. It is 
known also that envoys are not killed, but are usually respected 
even by wild Tartars with whom your worthiness is making war 
against my Christian army. Now, guaranteeing the safety of your 
envoy by my personal princely word, 1 subscribe myself, etc.** 

That same evening Kmita took the safe-conduct and went 
with the two Kyemliches. Pan Sakovich remained in So- 
kolka as a hostage. 



It was near midnight when Pan Andrei announced 
himself to the advanced pickets of the prince, but no one 
was sleeping in the whole camp. The battle might begin 
at any moment, therefore they had prepared for it care- 
fully. Boguslav's troops had occupied Yanov itself ; they 
commanded the road from Sokolka, which was held by 
artillery, managed by the elector's trained men. There 
were only three cannons, but abundance of powder and 
balls. On both sides of Yanov, among the birch groves, 
Boguslav gave orders to make intrenchments and to oc- 
cupy them with double-barrelled guns and infantry. The 
cavalry occupied Yanov itself, the road behind the cannons, 
and the intervals between the trenches. The position was 
defensible enough, and with fresh men defence in it might 
be long and bloody ; but of fresh soldiers there were only 
eight hundred under Kyritz ; the rest were so wearied that 
they could barely stand on their feet. Besides, the howling 
of the Tartars was heard in Suhovola at midnight, and later 
in the rear of Boguslav's ranks ; hence a certain fear was 
spread among the soldiers. Boguslav was forced to send 
in that direction all his light cavalry, which after it had 
gone three miles dared neither return nor advance, for fear 
of ambushes in the forest 

Boguslav, though fever together with violent chills was 
tormenting him more than ever, commanded everything in 
person ; but since he rode with difficulty he had himself 
carried by four soldiers in an open litter. In this way he 
had examined the road as well as the birch groves, and 
was entering Yanov when he was informed that an envoy 
from Sapyeha was approaching. 

They were already on the street. Boguslav was unable 
to recognize Kmita because of the darkness, and because 
Pan Andrei, through excess of caution on the part of offi- 
cers in the advance guard, had his head covered with a bag 
in which there was an opening only for his mouth. 

The prince noticed the bag when Kmita, after dismount- 
ing, stood near him ; he gave command to remove it at once. 


" This is Yanov," said he, " and there is no reason for 
secrecy." Then he turned in the darkness to Pan Andrei : 
" Are you from Pan Sapyeha ? '' 

" I am." 

" And what is Pan Sakovich doing there ? " 

" Pan Oskyerko is entertaining him." 

" Why did you ask for a safe conduct when you have 
Sakovich ? Pan Sapyeha is too careful, and let him see to 
it that he is not too clever." 

"That is not my affair," answered Kmita. 
. " I see that the envoy is not over-given to speech." 

" I have brought a letter, and in the quarters I will speak 
of my own affair." 

" Is there a private question ? " 

" There will be a request to your highness." 

" I shall be glad not to refuse it. Now I beg you to fol- 
low. Mount your horse ; I should ask you to the litter, 
but it is too small." 

They moved on. The prince in the litter and Kmita at 
one side on horseback. They looked in the darkness with- 
out being able to distinguish the faces of each other. After 
a while the prince, in spite of furs, began to shake so that 
his teeth chattered. At last he said, — 

" It has come on me grievously ; if it were — brr ! — not 
for this, I would give other conditions." 

Kmita said nothing, and only wished to pierce with his 
eyes the darkness, in the middle of which the head and 
face of the prince were outlined in indefinite gray and white 
features. At the sound of Boguslav's voice and at sight of 
his figure all the former insults, the old hatred, and the 
burning desire for revenge so rose in Kmita's heart that 
they turned almost to madness. His hand of itself sought 
the sword, which had been taken from him ; but at his girdle 
he had the baton with an iron head, the ensign of his rank 
of colonel ; the devil then began to whirl in his brain at 
once, and to whisper : *' Cry in his ear who you are, and 
smash his head into bits. The night is dark, you will es- 
cape. The Kyemliches are with you. You will rub out 
a traitor and pay for injustice. You will rescue Olenka, 
Soroka — Strike ! strike ! " 

Kmita came still nearer the litter, and with trembling 
hand began to draw forth the baton. " Strike ! " whispered 
the devil; "you will serve the country." 

Kmita had now drawn out the baton, and he squeezed the 


handle as if wishing to crush it in his hand. " One, two, 
three ! " whispered the devil. 

But at that moment Kmita's horse, whether because he had 
hit the helmet of the soldier with his nose, or had shied, it 
is enough that he stumbled violently. Kmita pulled the 
reins. During this time the litter had moved on several 
steps. The hair stood on the head of the young man. 

" Most Holy Mother, restrain my hand ! " whispered 
he, through his set teeth. " Most Holy Mother, save 
me ! I am here an envoy ; I came from the hetman, and I 
want to murder like a night assassin. I am a noble ; I am 
a servant of Thine. Les^ me not into temptation ! " 

" But why are you loitering ? " asked Boguslav, in a voice 
broken by fever. 

" I am here ! " 

" Do you liear the cocks crowing beyond the fences ? It 
is needful to hurry, for I am sick and want rest." 

Kmita put the baton behind his belt and rode farther, 
near the litter. Still he could not find peace. He under- 
stood that only with cool blood and self-command could he 
free Soroka ; therefore he stipulated with himself in advance 
what words to use with the prince so as to incline and con- 
vince him. He vowed to have only Soroka in view, to 
mention nothing else, and especially not Olenka. And he 
felt how in the darkness a burning blush covered his face 
at the thought that perhaps the prince himself would men- 
tion her, and mayl)e mention something that Pan Andrei 
would not he able to endure or listen to. 

"Let him not mention her," said he to himself; "let 
him not allude to her, for in that is his death and mine. 
Let him have mercy upon himself, if he lacks shame." 

Pan Andrei suffered terribly ; his breath failed him, and 
liis throat was so straitened that he feared lest he might 
not be able to bring forth the words when he came to speak. 
In this stifling oppression he l)egan the Litany. 

After a time relief came ; he was quieted considerably, 
and that grasp as it were of an iron hand squeezing his 
throat was relaxed. 

They had now arrived at the prince's quarters. The sol- 
diers put down the litter ; two attendants took the prince 
bv the armpits ; he turned to Kmita, and with his teeth 
cnattering continually, said, — 

" I beg you to follow. The chill will soon pass ; then 
we can speak." 


After a while they found themselves in a separate apart- 
ment in which heaps of coals were glowing in a fireplace, 
and in which was unendurable heat. His servants placed 
Prince Boguslav on a long campaign arm-chair covered with 
furs, and brought a light. Then the attendants withdrew. 
The prince threw his head back, closed his eyes, and re- 
mained in that position motionless for a time ; at last he 
said, — 

" Directly, — let me rest." 

Kmita looked at him. The prince had not changed 
much, but the fever hatl pinched his face. He wiis painted 
as usual, and his cheeks touched with color; but just for 
that reason, when he lay there with closed eyes and head 
thrown back, he was somewhat like a corpse or a wax 
figure. Pan Andrei stood before him in the bright light. 
The prince began to open his lids lazily; suddenly he 
opened them completely, and a flame, as it were, fiew over 
his face. But it remained only an instant ; then again he 
closed his eyes. 

" If thou art a spirit, I fear thee not," said he ; ** but 

*' I have come with a letter from the hetman," answered 

Boguslav shuddered a little, as if he wished to shake ofE 
visions ; then he looked at Kmita and asked, — 

" Have I been deceived in you ? " 

'*Not at all," answered Pan Andrei, }K)inting with his 
finger to the scar. 

" That is the second ! " muttered the prince to himself ; 
and he added aloud, " Where is the letter ? " 

" Here it is," said Kmita, giving the letter. 

Boguslav began to read, and when he had finished a mar- 
vellous light flashed in his eyes. 

" It is well," said he ; " there is loitering enough ! To- 
morrow the battle — and I am glad, for I shall not have a 

"And we, too, are glad," answered Kmita. 

A moment of silence followed, during which these two 
inexorable enemies measured each other with a certain ter- 
rible curiosity. The prince first resumed the conversation. 

"I divine that it was you who attacked me with the 
Tartars ? " 

" It was I." 

" And did you not fear to come here ? " 


Kmita did not answer. 

"Did you count on our relationship through the Kish- 
kis? For you and I have our reckonings. I can tear you 
.out of your skin, Sir Cavalier." 

" You can, your highness." 

" You came with a safe-conduct, it is true. I understand 
now why Pan Sapyeha asked for it. Hut you have at- 
tempted my life. Sakovich is detained there ; but Sapy- 
eha has no right to Sakovich, while I have a right to you, 

"I have come with a prayer to your highness." 

" I beg you to mention it. You can calculate that for 
you everything will be done. What is tlie prayer ? " 

" You have here a captive soldier, one of those men who 
aided me in carrying you off. I gave orders, he acted as a 
blind instrument. 'Be pleased to set that man at liberty." 

Bogiislav thought awhile. 

" I am thinking," said he, " which is greater, — your dar- 
ing as a soldier, or your insolence as a petitioner." 

" I do not ask this man from you for nothing." 

** And what will you give me for him ? " 

" Myself." 

"Is it possible that he is such a precious soldier ? You 
pay bountifully, but see that that is sufficient ; for surely 
you would like to ransom something else from me." 

Kmita came a step nearer to the prince, and grew so 
awfully pale that Boguslav, in spite of himself, looked at 
the door, and notwithstanding all his daring he changed 
the subject of conversation. 

" Pan Sapyeha will not entertain such an agreement. I 
should be glad to hold you ; but I have guaranteed with 
my word of a prince your safety." 

" I will write by that soldier to the hetman that I re- 
main of my own will." 

'* And he will declare that, in spite of your will, I must 
send you. You have given him services too great. He will 
not set Sakovich free, and Sakovich 1 prize higher than 

" Then, your highness, free that soldier, and I will go on 
my word where you command." 

" I may fall to-morrow ; T care nothing for treaties touch- 
ing the day after." 

'' I implore your highness for that man. I — " 

'' What will you do ? " 


" I will drop my revenge." 

" You see, Pan Kmita, many a time have I gone against 
a bear with a spear, not because I had to do so, but from 
desire. I am glad when some danger threatens, for life is 
less dull for me. In this case I reserve your revenge as a 
pleasure ; for you are, I must confess, of that breed of bears 
which seek the hunter themselves." 

" Your highness," said Kmita, " for small mercies God 
often forgives great sins. Neither of us knows when it 
will come to him to stand before the judgment of Christ." 

" Enough ! " said the prince. " I compose psalms for my- 
self in spite of the fever, so as to have some merit before 
the Lord ; should I need a preacher I should summon my 
own. You do not know how to beg with sufficient humility, 
and you go in round-about ways. I will show you the 
method myself : strike to-morrow in the battle on Sapyeha, 
and after to-morrow I will let out the soldier and forgive you 
your sins. You betrayed Radzivill ; betray now Sapyeha." 

*'Is this the last word of your highness? By all the 
saints, I implore you ! " 

" No ! Devil take you ! And you change in the face — 
But don't come too near, for, though T am ashamed to call 
attendants — look here ! You are too bold ! " 

Boguslav pointed at a pistol-barrel peeping from under 
the fur with which it was covered, and looked with spark- 
ling eyes into Kmita's eyes. 

"Your highness ! " cried Kmita, almost joining his hands 
in prayer, but with a face changed by wrath. 

" You heg, but you threaten," said Boguslav ; " you bend 
your neck, but the devil is gnashing his teeth at me from 
behind your collar. Pride is gleaming in your eyes, and in 
your mouth it sounds as in a cloud. With your forehead to 
the Radzivill feet when you beg, my little man ! Beat with 
your forehead on the floor, then I will answer." 

Pan Andrei's face was as pale as apiece of linen ; he drew 
his hand over his moist forehead, his eyes, his face ; and lie 
spoke with such a broken voice, as if the fever from which 
the prince suffered had suddenly sprung upon him. 

" If your highness will free for me that old soldier, I am 
ready to fall at your feet.*' 

Satisfaction gleamed in Boguslav's eyes. He had brought 
down his enemy, bent his proud neck. Better food he could 
not give to his revenge and hatred. 

Kmita stood before him with hair erect in his forelock, 


trembling in liis whole body. His face, resembling even in 
rest the head of a hawk, recalled all the more an enraged 
bird of prey. You could not tell whether at the next mo- 
ment he would throw himself at the feet, or hurl himself 
at the breast of the prince. But Boguslav not taking his 
eyes from him, said, — 

" Before witnesses ! before people ! " And he turned to 
the door. "Hither!" 

A number of attendants, Poles and foreigners, came in ; 
after them officers entered. 

" Gracious gentlemen ! " said the prince, " behold Pan 
Kmita, the banneret of Orsha and envoy of Pan Sapyeha, 
who has come to beg a favor of me, and he wishes to have 
all you gentlemen as witnesses." 

Kmita tottered like a drunken man, groaned, and fell at 
Boguslav's feet. The prince stretched his feet purposely so 
that the end of his riding-boot touched the forehead of the 

All looked in silence, astonished at the famous name, as 
well as at tliis, — that he who bore it was now an envoy from 
Pan Sapyeha. All understood, too, that something uncom- 
mon was taking place. 

Tlie princi* rose, and without saying a word ^mssed into 
the adjoining chamber, beckoning to two attendants to 
follow him. 

Kmita rose. His face showed no longer either anger or 
rapacity, merely indifference and insensibility. He ap- 
peared unconscious of what was happening to him. and his 
energy seemed broken completely. 

Half an hour passed ; an hour. Outside the windows was 
heard the tramp of horses' feet and the measured tread of 
soldiers ; he sat continually as if of stone. 

Suddenly the door opened. An officer entered, an old 
acquaintance of Kmita's from Birji, and eight soldiers, — 
fcnir with muskets, four without firearms, — with sabres. 

" Gracious Colonel, rise ! " said the officer, politely. 

Kmita looked on him wanderingly. " Glovbich ! " said 
he, recognizing the officer. 

"I have an order," answered Glovbich, "to bind your 
hands and conduct you beyond Yanov. The binding is for 
a time, then you will go free ; therefore I beg you not to 

" Bind ! " answered Kmita. 

And he permitted them to tie him. But they did not tie 


his feet. The officer led him out of the room and on foot 
through Yanov. Then they advanced for about an hour. 
On the road some horsemen joined them. Kmita heard 
them speaking in Polish ; the Poles, who served with Bo- 
guslav, all knew the name of Kmita, and therefore were 
most curious to know what would happen to him. The 
party passed the birch grove and came to an open field, on 
which Pan Andrei saw a detachment of the light Polish 
squadron of Boguslav. 

The soldiers stood in rank, forming a square; in the 
middle was a space in which were two foot-soldiers 
holding horses harnessed to draw, and some men with 

By the light of the torches Pan Andrei saw a freshly 
sharpened stake lying on the ground with the large end 
fastened in a great log. 

A shiver passed through Kmita involuntarily. "That is 
for me,'* thought he ; " Boguslav has ordered them to draw 
me on the stake with horses. He sacrifices Sakovich to his 

But he was mistaken; the stake was intended first for 

By the quivering flames Pan Andrei saw Soroka him- 
self ; the old soldier was sitting there at the side of the 
log on a stool, without a cap and with bound hands, 
guarded by four soldiers. A man dressed in a short shuba 
without sleeves was at that moment giving him in a shal- 
low cup gorailka, which Soroka drank eagerly enough. 
When he had drunk, he spat ; and since at that very mo- 
ment Kmita was placed between two horsemen in the first 
rank, Soroka saw him, sprang from the stool and straight- 
ened himself as if on military parade. 

For a while they looked the one at the other. Soroka's 
face was calm and resigned ; he only moved his jaws as if 

" Soroka ! " groaned Kmita, at last. 

** At command ! " answered the soldier. 

And again silence followed. What had they to say at sucli 
a moment ? Then the executioner, who had given Soroka 
the vodka, approached him. 

*^ Well, old man,'' said he, " it is time for you ! " 

** And you will draw me on straight ? *' 

" ^ever fear." 

Soroka feared not ; but when he felt on his shoulder the 


hand of the executioner, he began to pant quickly and 
loudly. At last he said, — 

" More gorailka ! " 

" There is none ! " 

Suddenly one of the soldiers pushed out of the rank and 
gave a canteen, — 

" Here is some ; give it to him." 

" To the rank ! " commanded Glovbich. 

Still the man in the short shuba held the canteen to So- 
roka's mouth ; he drank abundantly, and after he had drunk 
breathed deeply. 

" See ! " said he, " the lot of a soldier after thirty years' 
service. Well, if it is time, it is time ! " 

Another executioner approached and they began to un- 
dress him. 

A moment of silence. The torches trembled in the 
hands of those holding them ; it became terrible for all. 

Meanwhile from the ranks surrounding the square was 
wrested a murmur of dissatisfaction, which became louder 
each instant; '*A soldier is not an executioner; he gives 
death himself, but does not wish to see torture." 

" Silence ! " cried Glovbich. 

The murmur became a loud bustle, in which were heard 
single words : " Devils ! " " Thunders ! " " Pagan service ! " 

Suddenly Kmita shouted as if they had been drawing 
him on to the stake, — 

" Stop ! " 

The executioner halted involuntarily. All eyes were 
turned to Kmita. 

*< Soldiers ! " shouted Pan Andrei, " Prince Boguslav is a 
traitor to the king and the Commonwealth I You are sur- 
rounded, and to-morrow you will be cut to pieces. You are 
serving a traitor ; you are serving against the country ! 
But whoso leaves this service leaves the traitor ; to him for- 
giveness of the king, forgiveness of the hetman ! Choose ! 
Death and disgrace, or a reward to-morrow ! I will pay 
wages, and a ducat a man, — two ducats a man ! Choose ! It 
is not for you, worthy soldiers, to serve a traitor ! Long life 
to the king ! Long life to tlie grand hetman of Lithuania ! " 

The disturbance w^as turned into thunder; the ranks 
were broken. A number of voices shouted, — 

** Long life to the king ! " 

" We have had enough of this service ! " 

" Destruction to traitors ! " 

VOL. II.— 20 


*^ Stop ! stop ! " shouted other voices. 

^* To-morrow you will die in disgrace ! " bellowed Kmita. 

" The Tai^tars are in Suhovola ! " 

" The prince is a traitor ! " 

" We are fighting a^jainst the king ! " 

" Strike ! " 

" To the prince ! " 

" Halt ! " 

In the disturbance some sabre had cut the ropes tying 
Kmita's hands. He sprang that moment on one of the 
horses which were to draw Soroka on the stiike, and cried 
from the horse, — 

** Follow me to the hetman ! " 

" I go ! " shouted Glovbich. ** Long life to the king ! " 

" May he live ! " answered fifty voices, and fifty sabres 
glittered at once. 

" To horse, Soroka ! " commanded Kmita. 

There were some who wished to resist, but at sight of the 
naked sabres they grew silent. One, however, turned his 
horse and vanished from the eye in a moment. The torches 
went out Darkness embraced all. 

"After me!" shouted Kmita. An orderless mass of 
men moved from the place, and then stretcihed out in a 
long line. 

When they had gone two or three furlongs they met the 
infantry picltets who occupied in large parties the birch 
grove on the left side. 

" Who goes ? " 

" Glovbich with a party ! " 

" The word ? " 

" Trumpets ! " 

" Pass ! " 

They rode forward, not hurrying over-much ; then they 
went on a trot. 

" Soroka ! " said Kmita. 

" At command ! -' answered the voice of the sergeant at 
his side. 

Kmita said nothing more, but stretching out his hand, 
put his palm on Soroka's head, as if wishing to convinc(* 
himself that he was riding there. The soldier pressed Pan 
Andrei's hand to his lips in silence. 

Then Glovbich called from the other side, — 

" Your grace ! I wanted long to do what I have done 


** You will not regret it ! " 

*' I shall be thankful all my life to you." 

"Tell me, Glovbich, why did the prince send you, and 
not a foreign regiment, to the execution ? " 

"Because he wanted to disgrace you before the Poles. 
The foreign soldiers do not know you." 

" And was nothing to happen to me ? " 

" I had the order to cut your bonds ; but if you tried to 
defend Soroka we were to bring you for punishment to the 

"Then he was willing to sacrifice Sakovich," muttered 

Meanwhile J^rince Boguslav in Yanov, wearied with the 
fever and the toil of the day, had gone to sleep. He was 
roused from slumber by an uproar in front of his quarters 
and a knocking at the door. 

" Your highness, your highness ! " cried a number of 

" He is asleep, do not rouse him ! " answered the pages. 

But the prince sat up in bed and cried, — 

" A light ! " 

They brought in a light, and at the same time the officer 
on duty entered. 

" Your highness," said he, " Sapyeha's envoy has brought 
Glovbich's squadron to mutiny and taken it to the hetman." 

Silence followed. 

" Sound the kettle-drums and other drums ! " said Bo- 
guslav at last; "let the troops form in rank!" 

The officer went out ; the prince remained alone. 

"That is a terrible man!" said he to himself; and he 
felt that a new paroxysm of fever was seizing him. 



It is easy to imagine Sapyeha's amazement when Kmita 
not only returned safely himself, but brought with him a 
number of tens of horsemen and his old servant. KmiUi 
had to tell the hetman and Oskyerko twice what had hai>- 
pened, and how it had happened ; they listened with curi- 
osity, clapping their hands frequently and seizing their 

" Learn from this," said the hetman, *^ that whoso carries 
vengeance too far, from him it often slips away like a bird 
through the fingers. Prince Boguslav wanted to have 
Poles as witnesses of your shame and suffering so as to 
disgrace you the more, and he carried the matter too far. 
But do not boast of this, for it was the ordinance of God 
wliich gave you victory, though, in my way, I will tell you 
one thing, — he is a devil; but you too are a devil ! The 
prince did ill to insult you.'' 

" I will not leave him behind in vengeance, and God 
grant that 1 shall not overdo it.'- 

** Leave vengeance altogether, as Christ did; though with 
one word he might have destroyed the Jews.'' 

Kmita said nothing, and there was no time for dis- 
cussion; there was not even time for rest. He was mor- 
tally wearied, and still he had determined to go that night 
to his Tartars, who were posted in the forests and on the 
roads in the rear of Boguslav's army. But j)eople of that 
period slept soundly on horseback. Pan Andrei simply 
gave command then to saddle a fresh horse, promising him- 
self to slumber sweetly on the road. 

When he was mounting Soroka came to him and stood 
straight as in service. 

" Your grace I " said he. 

" What have you to say, old man ? " 

'* I have come to ask when I am to start ? " 

" For what place ? " 

" For Taurogi." 

Kmita laughed : " You will not go to Taurogi, you will 
go with me." 


" At command ! " answered the sergeant, striving not to 
show his delight. 

They rode ou together. The road was long, for they 
had to go around by forests, so as not to fall into Boguslav's 
hands ; but Kniita and Soroka slept a hundred fold, and 
came to the Tartars without any accident. 

Akbah Ulan presented himself at once before Babinich, 
and gave him a report of his activity. Pan Andrei was 
satisfied. Every bridge had been burned, the dams were 
cut; that was not all, the water of springtime had over- 
flowed, changing the fields, meadows, and roads in the lower 
places into muddy quagmires. 

Boguslav had no choice but to fight, to conquer or perish ; 
it was impossible for him to think of retreat. 

"Very well," said Kmita; "he has good cavalry, but 
heavy. He will not have use for it in the mud of to-day." 

Then he turned to Akbah Ulan. " You have grown 
poor," said he, striking him on the stomach with his fist; 
"but after the battle you will fill your paunch with the 
prince's ducats." 

" God has created the enemy, so that men of battle might 
have some one to plunder," said the Tartar, with seriousness. 

" But Boguslav's cavalry stands in front of you." 

" There are some hundreds of good horses, and yesterday a 
regiment of infantry came and intrenched itself." 

" But could they not be enticed to the field ? " 

" They will not come out." 

" But turn them, leave them in the rear, and go to 

"They occupy the road." 

"Then we must think of something!" Kmita began 
to stroke his forelock with his hand : " Have you 
tried to steal up to them? How far will they follow 
you out?" 

" A furlong, two, — not farther." 

" Then we must think of something I " repeated Kmita. 

But that night they thought of nothing. Next morning, 
however, Kmita went with the Tartars toward the camji 
lying between Suhovol and Yanov, and discovered that 
Akbah Ulan had exaggerated, saying that the infantry was 
intrenched on that side ; for they had little ditches, nothing 
more. It was possible to make a protracted defence from 
them, especially against Tai*tars, who did not go readily to 


the attack of such places ; but it wiis impossible for men in 
them to think of enduring any kind of siege. 

"If I had infantry," thought Kniita, **I would go into 

But it was difficult even to dream of bringing infantry ; 
for, first, Sapyeha himself had not very many ; second, there 
was no time to bring them. 

Kmita approached so closely that Boguslav's infantry 
opened fire on him ; but he did not care. He rode among the 
bullets and examined, looked around; and the Tartars, 
though less enduring of fire, had to keep pace with him. 
Then cavalry rushed out and undertook to nank him. He 
retreated about three thousand yards and turned again. 
But they had ridden back toward the trenches. In vain did 
the Tartars let off a cloud of arrows after them. Only one 
man fell from his horse, and that one his comrades saved, 
carried in. 

Kmita on returning, instead of riding straight to Suhovola, 
rushed toward the west and came to the Kamyonka. 

This swampy river had overflowed widely, for that year 
the springtime was wonderfully abundant in water. Kmita 
looked at the river, threw a number of broken branches into 
it so as to measure the speed of the current, and said to 
Ulan, — 

" We will go around their flank and strike them in the 

" Horses cannot swim against the current." 

" It goes slowly. They will swim ! The water is almost 

" The horses will be chilled, and the men cannot endure 
it. It is cold yet." 

"Oh, the men will swim holding to the horses' tails! 
That is your Tartar way." 

" The men will grow stiff." 

" They will get warm under fire." 

"Kismet (fate)!" 

Before it had grown dark in the world, Kmita had ordered 
them to cut bunches of willows, dry reeds, and rushes, and 
tie them to the sides of the horses. When the first star ap 
peared, he sent about eight hundred horses into the water, 
and they began to swim. He swam himself at the head of 
them ; but soon he saw that they were advancing so slowly 
that in two days they would not swim past the trenches. 
Then he ordered them to swim to the other bank. 


That Wtos a dangerous undertaking. The other bank was 
steep and swampy. The horses, though light, sank in it to 
their bellies. But Kuiita\s men pushed forward, though 
slowly and saving one another, while advancing a couple of 

The stars indicated midnight. Then from the south came 
to them echoes of distant fighting. 

**The battle has begun ! '' shouted Kmita. 

*^ We shall drown ! '' answered Akbah Ulan. 

'' After me ! " 

The Tartars knew not what to do, when on a sudden they 
saw that Kmita's horse issued from the mud, evidently 
linding firm footing. 

In fact, a bench of sand had begun. On the top of it 
there was water to the horses' breasts, but under foot was 
solid ground. They went therefore more swiftly. On the 
left distant fires were gleaming. 

" Those are the trenches ! " said Kmita, quietly. " Let us 
avoid them, go around ! " 

After a while they had really passed the trenches. Then 
they turned to the left, and put their horses into the river 
again, so as to land beyond the trenches. 

More than a hundred horses were swamped at the shore ; 
but almost all the men came out. Kmita ordered those who 
had lost their beasts to sit behind other horsemen, and they 
moved toward the trenches. First he left volunteers with 
the order not to disturb the trenches till he should have 
gone around them to the rear. When he was approaching 
he heard shots, at first few, then more frequent. 

" It is well ! " said he ; " Sapyeha is attacking ! " 

And he moved on. 

In the darkness was visible only a multitude of heads 
jumping with the movement of the horses ; sabres did not 
rattle, armor did not sound; the Tartars and volunteers 
knew how to move in silence, like wolves. 

From the side of Yanov the firing became more and more 
vigorous; it was evident that Sapyeha was moving along 
the whole line. 

But on the trenches toward which Kmita was advancing 
shouts were heard also. A number of piles of wood were 
burning near them, casting around a strong light, l^y this 
light Pan Andrei saw infantry firing i-arely, more occupied 
in looking in front at the field, where cavalry was fighting 
with volunteers. 


They saw him too from the trenches, but instead of firing 
they greeted the advancing body with a loud shout. The sol- 
diers thought that Boguslav had sent them reinforcements. 

But when barely a hundred yards sepai*ated the approach- 
ing body from the trenches, the infantry began to move 
about unquietly ; an increasing number of soldiers, shading 
their eyes with their hands, were looking to see what kind 
of people were coming. 

When fifty yards distant a fearful howl tore the air, and 
Kmita's force ruslied like a storm, took in the infantry, sur- 
rounded them like a ring, and that whole mass of men began 
to move convulsively. You would have said that a gigantic 
serpent was stifling a chosen victim. 

In this crowd piercing shouts were heard. "Allah!" 
" Herr Jesus ! " " Mein Gott ! '• 

Behind the trenches new shouts went up ; for the volun- 
teers, though in weaker numbers, recognizing that Pan Babi- 
nich was in the trenches, pressed on the cavalry with fury. 
Meanwhile the sky, which had been cloudy for some time, 
as is common in spring, poured down a heavy, unexpected 
rain. The blazing fires were put out, and the battle went 
on in the darkness. 

But the battle did not la^t long. Attacked on a sudden, 
Boguslav's infantry went under the knife. The cavalry, in 
which were many Poles, laid down their arms. The for- 
eigners, namely, one hundred dragoons, were cut to pieces. 

When the moon came out again from behind the clouds, 
it lighted only crowds of Tartars finisliing the wounded and 
taking plunder. 

But neither did that last long. The piercing sound of a 
pipe was heard ; Tartars and volunteers as one man sprang 
to their horses. 

" After me ! " cried Kmita. 

And he led them like a whirlwind to Yanov. 

A quarter of an hour later the ill-fated place was set on 
fire at four corners, and in an hour one sea of flame 
was spread as widely as Yanov extended. Above the con- 
flagration pillars of fiery sparks were flying toward the 
ruddy sky. 

Thus did Kmita let the hetman know that he had taken 
the rear of Boguslav's army. 

He himself like an executioner, red from the blood of 
men, marshalled his Tartars amid the fire, so as to lead them 
on farther. 


They were already in line and extending into column, 
when suddenly, on a field as bright as in day, from the 
fire, lie saw before hiiu a division of the elector's gigantic 

A knight led them, distinguishable from afar, for he wore 
silver-plate armor, and sat on a white horse. 

" Boguslav ! " bellowed Kniita, with an unearthly voice, 
and rushed forward with his whole Tartar column. 

They approached one another, like two waves driven by 
two winds. A considerable space divided them; the horses 
on both sides reached their greatest speed, and went with 
ears down like hounds, almost sweeping the earth with 
their bellies. On one side large men with shining breast' 
plates, and sabres held erect in their right hands ; on the 
other, a black swarm of Tartars. 

At last they struck in a long line on the clear field ; but 
then something terrible took place. The Tartar swarm fell 
as grain bent by a whirlwind ; the gigantic men rode over 
it and flew farther, as if the men and the horses had the 
power of thunderbolts and the wings of a storm. 

Some of the Tartars sprang up and began to pursue. 
It was possible to ride over the wild men, but impossi- 
ble to kill them at once ; so more and more of them 
iKistened after thci fleeing cavalry. Lariats began to 
whistle in the air. 

But at the head of the retreating cavalry the rider on the 
white horse ran ever in the first rank, and among the pur- 
suers was not Kmita. 

Only in the gray of dawn did the Tartars begin to return, 
and almost every man luul a horseman on his lariat. Soon 
they found Kmita, and carried him in unconsciousness to 
Pan Sapyeha. 

The hetman himself took a seat at Kmita's bedside. 
About midday Pan Andrei opened his eyes. 

" Where is Boguslav ? '' were his first words. 

" Cut to pieces. God gave him fortune at first ; then he 
came out of the birch groves and in the open field fell on 
the infantry of l*an Oskyerko ; there he lost men and 
victory. I do not know whether he led away even five 
hundred men, for your Tartars caught a good number 
of them." 

" But he himself ? " 

" Escaped ! " 

Kmita was silent awhile ; then said, — 



" I cannot measure with him yet. He struck me with a 
double-handed sword on the head, and knocked me down 
with my horse. My morion was of trusty steel, and did not 
let the sword through ; but 1 fainted." 

" You should hang up that morion in a church/' 

*' I will pursue him, even to the end of the world ! " said 

To this the hetman answered : *' See what news I have 
received to-day after the battle ! " 

Kmita read aloud the following words, — 

The King of Sweden han moved from Elblaiig ; he is marching 
on Zamost, thence to Lvoff against Yan Kazimir. Come, vonr 
worthiness, with all your forces, to save king and country, for I 
cannot hold out alone. 


A moment of silence. 

** Will you go with us, or will you go with the Tartars to 
Taurogi ? " 

Kmita closed his eyes. He remembered the words of 
Father Kordetski, and what Volodyovski had told him of 
Pan Yan, and said, — 

" Let private affairs wait ! I will meet the enemy at the 
side of the country ! " 

The hetman pressed Pan Andrei's head. "You are a 
brother to me ! " said he ; " and because 1 am old, receive 
my blessing." 



At a time when all living men in the Commonwealth 
were mounting their horses Karl Gustav stayed continually 
in Prussia, busied in capturing the towns of that province 
and in negotiating with the elector. 

After an easy and unexpected conquest, the quick sol- 
dier soon saw that the Swedish lion had swallowed more 
than his stomach could carry. After the return of Yan 
Kazimir he lost hope of retaining the Commonwealth ; 
but while making a mental abdication of the whole, he 
wished at least to retain the greater part of his conc^uest, and 
above all Royal Prussia, — a province fruitful, dotted with 
large towns, wealthy, and adjoining his own I'omerania. 
But as that provin(*e wa^ first to defend itself, so did it con- 
tinue faithful to its lord and the Commonwealth. The re- 
turn of Yan Kiizimir, and the war begun by the confedera- 
tion of Tyshovtsi might revive the courage of Prussia, 
confirm it in loyalty, give it will for endurance ; therefore 
Karl Gustav determined to crush the uprising, and to wipe 
out Kazimir's forces so as to take from Prussians the hope 
of resistance. 

He had to do this for the sake of the elector, who was 
ever ready to side with the stronger. The King of Sweden 
knew him thoroughly, and doubted not for a moment that 
if the fortime of Yan Kazimir should preponderate, the 
elector would be on his side again. 

When, therefore, the siege of Marienburg advanced slowly, 
— for the more it was attacked the more stubbornly did Pan 
Weiher defend it, — Karl Gustav marched to the Common- 
wealth, so as to reach Yan Kazimir again, even in the re- 
motest corner of the land. 

And since with him deed followed decision as swiftly as 
thunder follows lightning, he raised his army disposed in 
towns ; and before any one in the Commonwealth had looked 
around, before the news of his march had spread, he had 
passed Warsaw and liad rushed into the greatest blaze of 


Driven by anger, revenge, and bitterness, he moved on 
like a storm. Behind him ten thousand horse trampled 
the fields, which were still covered with snow ; and taking 
the infantry from the garrisons, he went on, like a whirl- 
wind, toward the far south of the Commonwealth. 

On the road he burned and pursued. He was not now 
that recent Karl Gustav, the kindly, affable, and joyous lord, 
clapping his hands at Polish cavalry, winking at feasts, and 
praising the soldiers. Now, wherever he showed himself 
the blood of peasants and nobles flow^ed in a torrent. On 
the road he annihilated *^ pai-ties," hanged prisoners, spared 
no man. 

But as when, in the thick of the pine-woods, a mighty 
bear rushes forward with heavy body crushing branches 
and brush on the way, while wolves follow after, and not 
daring to block his path, pursue, press nearer and nearer 
behind, so did those " parties '■ pursuing the armies of Karl 
join in throngs denser and denser, and follow the Swedes as 
a shadow a man, and still more enduringly than a shadow, 
for they followed in the day and the night, in fair and foul 
weather ; before him too bridges were ruined, provisions de- 
stroyed, so that he had to march as in a desert, without a 
place for his head or anything with which to give strength 
to his body when hungry. 

Karl Gustav noted quickly how terrible his task was. 
The war spread around him as widely as the sea spreads 
around a ship lost in the waters. Prussia was on fire ; on 
fire was Great Poland, which had first accepted his sov- 
ereignty, and first wished to throw off the Swedish yoke ; 
Little Poland was on fire, and so were Russia, Lithuania, 
and Jmud. In the castles and large towns the Swedes main- 
tained themselves yet, as if on islands ; but the villages, 
the forests, the fields, the rivers, were already in Polish 
hands. Not merely a single man, or small detachments, 
but a whole regiment might not leave the main Swedish 
army for two hours ; for if it did the regiment vanished 
without tidings, and prisoners who fell into the hands of 
peasants died in terrible tortures. 

In vain had Karl Gustav given orders to proclaim in vil- 
lages and towns that whoso of peasants should bring an 
armed noble, living or dead, would receive freedom forever 
and land as a reward; for peasants, as well as nobles and 
townsmen, marched off to the woods. Men from the moun- 
tains, men from deep forests, men from meadows and fields. 


hid in the woods, formed ambushes on the roads against the 
Swedes, fell upon the smaller garrisons, and cut scouting- 
pai'ties to pieces. Flails, forks, and scythes, no less than 
the sabres of nobles, were streaming with Swedish blood. 

All the more did wrath rise in the heart of Karl, that 
a few months before he had gathered in that country so 
easily; hence he could hardly understand what had hap- 
pened, whence these forces, whence that resistance, whence 
that awful war for life or death, the end of which lie saw 
not and could not divine. 

Frequent councils were held in the Swedish camp. With 
the king marched his brother Adolph, prince of Bipont, who 
had command over the army ; liobert Douglas ; Henry Horn, 
relative of that Horn who had been slain by the scythe of 
a peasant at Chenstohova ; Waldemar, Prince of Denmark, 
and that Miller who had left his military glory at the foot 
of Y'asna Gora; Aschemberg, the ablest cavalry leader 
among the Swedes; Ilammerskiold, who commanded the 
artillery ; aud the old robber Marshal Arwid Wittemberg, 
famed for rapacity, living on the last of his healthy for he 
was eaten by the Gallic disease ; Forgell, and many others, 
all leaders skilled in the capture of cities, and in the liehl 
yielding in genius to the king only. 

These men were terrified in their hearts lest the whole 
army with the king should perish through toil, lack of 
food, and the fury of the Poles. Old Wittemberg advised 
the king directly against the campaign ; ^* How will you go, 
O King," said he, ** to the Russian regions after an enemy 
who destroys everything on the way, but is unseen him- 
self ? What will you do if horses lack not only hay, but 
even straw from the roofs of cottages, and men fall from 
exhaustion ? Where are the armies to come to our aid, 
where are the castles in which to draw breath and rest our 
weary limbs ? My fame is not equal to yours ; but were I 
Ivarl Gustav, I would not expose that glory acquired by so 
many victories to the fickle fortime of war.*' 

To which Karl Gustav answered: "And neither would I, 
were 1 Wittemberg.'' 

Then he mentioned Alexander of Macedon, with whom 
he liked to be comj)ared, and marched forward, pursuing 
Charnyetski. Charnyetski, not having forces so great nor 
so well trained, retreated before him, but retreated like a 
wolf ever ready to turn on his enemy. Sometimes he went 
in advance of the Swedes, sometimes at their flanks, and 


sometimes in deep forests he let them go in advance ; so that 
while they thought themselves the pursuers, he, in fact, was 
the hunter. He cut oft" the unwary ; here and there he 
hunted down a whole party, destroyed foot-regiments march- 
ing slowly, attacked j)rovision-triiins. The Swedes never 
knew where he was. More than once in the darkness of 
night they began to fire from nmskets and cannons into 
thickets, thinking that they had an enemy before them. 
They were mortally wearied ; they marched in cold, in hun- 
ger, in affliction, and that vlr molest issimus ^most harmful 
man) hung about them continually, as a hail-cloud hangs 
over a grain-field. 

At last they attacked him at Golamb, not far from the 
junction of the Vyepr and the Vistula. Some Polish squad- 
rons being ready for battle charged the enemy, spreaiding 
disorder and dismay. In front sprang Volodyovski with 
his Lauda squadron, and bore down Waldemar, prince of 
Denmark ; but the two Kavetskis, Samuel and Van, urged 
from the hill the ai'mored squadron against English mer- 
cenaries under Wilkinson, and devoured them in a moment, 
as a pike gulps a whiting ; and Pan Malavski engaged so 
closely with the Prince of lUpont that men and horses 
were confounded like dust which two whirlwinds sweeping 
from opjwsite (quarters bring together and turn into one 
circling column. In the twinkle of an eye the Swedes 
were pushed to the Vistula, seeing which Douglas hastened 
to the rescue with chosen horsemen. But even these re- 
inforcements could not check the onset; the Swedes began 
to spring from the high bank to the i(je, falling dead so 
thickly that they lay black on the snow-field, like letters on 
white paper. Waldemar, Prince of Denmark, fell ; Wilkin- 
son fell; and the J*rince of Bipont, thrown from his horse, 
broke his leg. But of Poles both Kavetskis fell ; killed also 
were Malavski, Budavski, Rogovski, Tyminski, Hoinski, and 
Porvanyetski. Volodyovski alone, though he dived among 
the Swedish ranks like a seamew in water, came out with- 
out having suffered the slightest wound. 

Now Karl Gustav himself came up with his main force 
and with artillery. Straightway the form of the battle 
changed. Charnyetski's other regiments, undisciplined and 
untrained, could not take position in season ; some had not 
their horses in readiness, others had been in distant vil- 
lages, and in spite of orders to be always ready, were tak- 
ing their leisure in cottages. When the enemy pressed 


suddenly on these men^ they scattered quickly and began 
to retreat to the Vyepr. Therefore Charnyetski gave or- 
ders to sound the retreat so as to spare those regiments that 
had opened the battle. Some of the fleeing went beyond 
the Vistula; others to Konskovoli, leaving the field and 
the glory of the victory to Karl ; for specially those who 
had crossed the Vyepr were long pursued by the squadrons of 
Zbrojek and Kalinski, who remained yet with the Swedes. 

There was delight beyond measure in the Swedish camp. 
No great trophies fell to the king, it is true, — sacks of oats, 
and a few empty wagons j but it was not at that time a 
question of plunder for Karl. He comforted himself with 
this, — that victory followed his steps as before ; that barely 
had he shown himself when he inflicted defeat on that very 
Charnyetski on whom the highest hopes of Yan Kazimir 
and the Commonwealth were founded. He could trust that 
the news would run through the whole country ; that every 
mouth would repeat, *^ Charnyetski is crushed ; " that the 
timid would exaggerate the proportions of the defeat, and 
thus weaken hearts and take courage from those who had 
grasped their weapons at the call of the confederation of 

So when they brought in and placed at his feet those bags 
of oats, and with them the bodies of Wilkinson and Prince 
Waldemar, he turned to his fretful generals and said, — 

" Un wrinkle your foreheads, gentlemen, for this ia the 
greatest victory which I have had for a year, and may end 
the whole war." 

" Your Royal Grace," answered Wittemberg, who, weaker 
than usual, saw things in a gloomier light, " let us thank 
Clod even for this, — that we shall have a farther march in 
peace, though Charnyetski's troops scatter quickly and 
rally easily." 

" Marshal," answered the king, " I do not think you a 
worse leader than Charnyetski ; but if I had beaten you in 
this fashion, I think you would not be able to assemble your 
troops in two months." 

Wittemberg only bowed in silence, and Karl spoke on : 
" Yes, we shall have a quiet march, for Charnyetski alone 
could really hamper it. If Charnyetski's troops are not 
before us, there is no hindrance." 

The generals rejoiced at these words. Intoxicated with 
victory, the troops marched past the king with shouts and 
with songs. Charnyetski ceased to threaten them like a 
cloud. Charnyetski's troops were scattered ; he had ceased 


to exist. Ill view of this thought their past sufferings were 
forgotten and their future toils were sweet. The king's 
words, heard by many officers, were borne through the 
camp; and all believed that the victory had uncommon 
significance, that the dragon of war was slain once more, 
and that only days of revenge and dominion would come. 

The king gave the army some hours of repose; mean- 
while from Kozyenitsi came ti-ains with provisions. The 
droops were disposed in Golamb, in Krovyeniki, and in 
ttyrzynie. The cavalry burned some deserted houses, hanged 
a few peasants seized with arms in their hands, and a few 
camp-servants mistaken for peasants ; then there was a feast 
in the Swedish camp, after which the soldiers slept a sound 
Sleep, since for a long time it was the first quiet one. 

Next day they woke in briskness, and the first words which 
came to the mouths of all were : ^* There is no Charnyetski I " 

One repeated this to another, as if to give mutual assur- 
ance of the good news. The march began joyously. The 
day was dry, cold, clear. The hair of the horses and their 
nostrils were covered with frost. The cold wind froze soft 
places on the Lyubelsk highroad, and made marching easy. 
The troops stretched out in a line almost five miles long, 
which they had never done previously. Two dragoon regi- 
ments, under command of Dubois, a Frenchman, went 
through Markushev and Grabov, five miles from the main 
force. Had they marched thus three days before they 
would have gone to sure death, but now fear and the glory 
of victory went before them. 

*^ Charnyetski is gone," repeated the officers and soldiers 
to one another. 

In fact, the march was made in quiet. From the forest 
depths came no shouts ; from thickets fell no darts, hurled 
by invisible hands. 

Toward evening Karl Gustav arrived at Grabov, joyous 
and in good humor. He was just preparing for sleep when 
Aschemberg announced through the officer of the day that 
he wished greatly to see the king. 

After a while he entered the royal quarters, not alone, 
but with a captain of dragoons. The king, who had a quick 
eye and a memory so enormous that he remembered nearly 
every soldier's name, recognized the captain at once. 

** \Vliat is the news, Freed ? " asked he. " Has Dubois 
returned ? '' 

" Dubois is killed." 

The king was confused ; only now .did he notice that the 


captain looked as if he had been taken from the grave, and 
his clothes were torn. 

" But the dragoons ? " inquired he, " those two regi- 
ments ? " 

" All cut to pieces. I alone was let off alive." 

The dark face of the king became still darker ; with his 
hands he placed his locks behind his ears. 

" Who did this ? " 

" Charnyetski.' 

Karl Gustav was silent, and looked with amazement at 
Aschemberg ; but he only nodded as if wishing to repeat : 
" Charnyetski, Chamyetski, Charnyetski ! " 

" All this is incredible," said the king, after a while. 
" Have you seen him with your own eyes ? " 

" As I see your Royal Grace. He commanded me to bow 
to you, and to declare that now he will recross the Vistula, 
but will soon be on our track again. I know not whether 
he told the truth." 

" Well," said the king, " had he many men with him ? " 

"I could not estimate exactly, but I saw about four thou- 
sand, and beyond the forest was cavalry of some kind. We 
were surrounded near Krasichyn, to which Colonel Dubois 
went purposely from the highroad, for he was told that there 
were some men there. Now, I think that Charnyetski sent 
an informant tu lead us into ambush, since no one save me 
came out alive. The peasants killed the wounded. I 
escaped by a miracle." 

" That man must have made a compact with hell," said the 
king, putting his hand to his forehead ; " for to rally troops 
after such a defeat, and be on our neck again, is not human 

" It has hapi>oned as Marshal Wittemberg foresaw," put 
in Aschemberg. 

*•' You all know how to foresee," burst out the king, 
" but how to advise you do not know." 

Aschemberg grew pale and was silent. Karl Gustav, 
when joyous, seemed goodness itself; but when once he 
frowned he roused indescribable fear in those nearest him, 
and birds do not hide so before an eagle as the oldest and 
most meritorious jjfonerals hid before him. But this time 
he moderated quickly, and asked Captain Freed again, — 

*^ Has Charnyetski good troops ? " 

" 1 saw some unrivalled squadrons, such cavalry as the 
Poles have." 

VOL. II. — 21 


*^Tliey are the same that attacked with such fui-y in 
Golamh ; they must be old regiments. But Charnyetski 
himself, — was he cheerful, confident ? " 

" He was as confident as if he had beaten us at Golamb, 
Now his heart must rise the more, for they have forgotten 
Golembo and boast of Krasichyn. Your Royal Grace, 
what Charnyetski told me to repeat I have repeated ; but 
when I was on the point of departing some one of the high 
officers appoached me, an old man, and told me that he was 
the person who had stretched out Gustavus Adolphus in a 
hand-to-hand conflict, and he poured much abuse on your 
Royal Grace ; others supported him. So do they boast. 
I left amid insults and abuse.'' 

"Never mind," said Karl Gustav, "Charnyetski is not 
broken, and has rallied his army ; that is the main point. 
All the more speedily must we march so as to reach the 
Polish Darius at the earliest. You are free to go, gentlemen. 
Announce to the army that those regiments perished at the 
hands of peasants in unfrozen morasses. We advance ! " 

The officers went out ; Karl Gustav remained alone. For 
something like an hour he was in gloomy thought. AVas 
the victory at Golamb to bring no fruit, no change to 
the position, but to rouse still greater rage in that entire 
country ? 

Karl, in presence of the army and of his generals, always 
showed confidence and faith in himself ; but when he was 
alone he began to think of that war, — how easy it had been 
at first, and then increased always in difficulty. More than 
once doubt embraced him. All the events seemed to him in 
some fashion marvellous. Often he could see no outcome, 
could not divine the end. At times it seemed to him that 
he was like a man who, going from the shore of the sea into 
the water, feels at every step that he is going deoi)or and 
deeper and soon will lose the ground undor his feet. 

But he believed in his star. And now ho went to the 
window to look at the chosen star, — that one which in the 
Wain or Great Bear occupies the highest place and shines 
brightest. The sky was clear, and therefore at that moment 
the star shone brightly, twinkled blue and red; but from afar, 
lower down on the dark blue of the sky, a lone cloud was 
blackening serpent-shaped, from which extended as it were 
arms, as it were branches, as it were the feelers of a monster 
of the sea, and it seemed to approach the king's star 



Next morning the king marched farther and reached 
Lublin. There he received information that Sapyeha had 
repulsed Boguslav's invasion, and was advancing with a 
considerable army; he left Lublin the same day, merely 
strengthening the garrison of that place. 

The next object of his expedition was Zamost ; for if he 
could occupy that strong fortress he would acquire a fixed 
base for further war, and such a notable i)reponderance that 
he might look for a successful end with all hope. There 
were various opinions touching Zamost. Those Poles stiH^ 
remaining with Karl contended that it was the strongest 
fortress in the Commonwealth, and brought as proof that 
it had withstood all the forces of Hmelnitski. 

Put since Karl saw that the Poles were in no wise skilled 
in fortification, and considered places strong which in other 
lands would scarcely be held in the third rank ; since he 
knew also that in Poland no fortress was i)roperly mounted, 
— that is, there were neither walls kept as they should be, 
nor earthworks, nor suitable arms, — he felt well touching 
Zamost. He counted also on the spell of his name, on 
the fame of an invincible leader, and finally on treaties. 
With treaties, which every magnate in the Commonwealth 
was authorized to make, or at least permitted himself to 
make, Karl had so far effected more than with arms. As 
an adroit man, and one wishing to know with whom he had 
to deal, he collected carefully all information touching the 
owner of Zamost. He inquired about his ways, his inclina- 
tions, his wit and fancy. 

Yan Sapyeha, who at that time by his treason still 
s}X)tted the name, to the great affliction of Sapyeha the 
hetman, gave the fullest explanations to the king con- 
cerning Zamoyski. They spent whole hours in council. 
But Yan Sapyeha did not consider that it would l)e easy 
for the king to captivate the master of Zamost. 

" lie cannot be tempted with money," said Yan, " for he 
is terribly rich. He cares not for dignities, and never 
wished them, even when they sought him themselves. As 


to titles, I have heard hini at the court reprimand Des 
Noyers, the queen's secretary, because in addressing him 
he said, 'Mon prince/ *I am not a prince,' answered he, 
* but I have -iiad archdukes as prisoners in my Zamost.' 
The truth is, however, that not he had them, but his grand- 
father, who among our people is surnamed the Great." 

" If he will open the gates of Zamost, I will offer him 
something which no Polish king could offer.'' 

It did not become Yan Sapyeha to ask what that might 
be ; he merely looked with curiosity at Karl Gustav. But 
the king understood the look, and answered, gathering, as 
was his wont, his hair behind his ears, — 

" I will offer him the province of Lyubelsk as an inde- 
pendent principality ; a crown will tempt him. No one of 
you could resist such a temptation, not even the present 
voevoda of Vilna.'' 

" Endless is the bounty of your Royal Grace," replied 
Sapyeha, not without a certain irony in his voice. 

But Karl answered with a cynicism peculiar to himself : 
*^ I give it, for it is not mine." 

Sapyeha shook his head : " He is an unmarried man and 
has no sons. A crown is dear to him who can leave it to 
his posterity." 

" What means do you advise me to take ? " 

" I think tliat flattery would effect most. The man is 
not too quick-witted, and may be easily over-reached. It is 
necessfiry to represent that on him alone depends the paci- 
fication of the Commonwealth ; it is necessary to tell him 
that he alone may save it from war, from all defeats and 
future misfortunes; and that especially by opening the 
gates. If the fish will swallow that little hook, we shall 
be in Zamost ; otherwise not." 

" Cannon remain as the ultimate argument." 

" H'm ! To that argument there is something in Zamost 
with which to give answer. There is no lack of heavy guns 
there ; we have none, and when thaws come it will be im- 
possible to bring them." 

" I have heard that the infantry in the fortress is good ; 
but there is a lack of cavalry." 

" Cavalry are needed only in the open field, and besides, 
since Charnyetski's army, as is shown, is not crushed, 
he can throw in one or two squadrons for the use of the 

" You see nothing save difficulties." 


** But I trust ever in the lucky star of your Royal Grace." 
Yan Sapyeha was right iii foreseeing that Charnyetski 
would furnish Zamost with cavalry needful for scouting 
and seizing informants. In fact, Zamoyski had enough of 
his own, and needed no tissistance whatever; but Char- 
nyetski sent the two stjuadrons which had suffered most at 
Golanib — that is, the Shemberk and Lauda — to the for- 
tress to rest, recruit themselves and change their horses, 
which were fearfully cut up. Sobiepan received them hos- 
pitably, and when he learned what famous soldiers were in 
them he exalted these men to the skies, covered them with 
gifts, and seated them every day at his tiible. 

But who shall describe the joy and emotion of Princess 
Griselda at sight of Pan Yan and Pan Michael, the most 
valiant colonels of her great husband ? Both fell at her 
feet shedding warm tears at sight of the beloved lady ; and 
she could not restrain her weeping. How many reminis- 
cences of those old Lubni days were connected with them ; 
when her husband, the glory and love of the people, full of 
the strength of life, ruled with power a wild region, rous- 
ing terror amid barbarism with one frown of his brow, like 
Jove. Such were those times not long past ; but where are 
they now ? To-day the lord is in his grave, barbarians 
have taken the land, and she, the widow, sits on the ashes 
of happiness, of greatness, living only with her sorrow and 
with prayer. 

Still in those reminiscences sweetness was so mingled 
with bitterness that the thoughts of those three flew gladly 
to times tliat were gone. They spoke then of their past 
lives, of those places which their eyes were never to see, of 
the past wars, finally of the present times of defeat and 
God^s anger. 

"If our prince were alive," said Pan Yan, "there would 
be another career for the Commonwealth. The Cossacks 
would be rubbed out, the Trans-Dnieper would be with the 
Commonwealth, and the Swede would find his conqueror. 
God has ordained as He willed of purpose to punish us for 

"Would that God might raise up a defender in Pan Char- 
nyetski ! " said Princess Griselda. 

" He will I " cried Pan Michael. " As our prince was a 
head above other lords, so Charnyetski is not at all like 
other leaders. I know the two hetmans of the kingdom, 
and Sapyeha of Lithuania. They are great soldiers ; but 


there is something uueoramon in Charnyetski ; you would 
say, he is an eagle, not a man. Though kindly, still all 
fear him; even Tan Zagloba in his presence forgets his 
jokes frequently. And liow he leads his troops and moves 
tliem, passes imagination. It cannot be otherwise than 
that a great warrior will rise in the Commonwealth." 

" My husband, who knew Charnyetski as a colonel, prophe- 
sied greatness for him," said the princess. 

**It was said indeed that he was to seek a wife in our 
couil;,'' put in Pan Michael. 

*• 1 do not remember that there was talk about that," 
answered the princess. 

In truth she could not remember, for there had never 
been anything of the kind ; but Pan Michael, cunning at 
times, invented this, wishing to turn the conversation to 
her liidies and learn something of Anusia ; for to ask di- 
rectly he considered improper, and in view of the majesty 
of the princess, too confidential. But the stratagem failed. 
The princess turnud her mind again to her husband and the 
Cossack wars ; then the little knight thought : ^' Anusia 
has not l)een here, perhaps, for God knows how many 
years." And he asked no more about her. He might 
have asked the officers, but his thoughts and occupations 
were elsewhere. Every day scouts gave notice that the 
Swedes were nearer ; hence preparations were made for de- 
fence. Pan Yan and Pan Michael received places on the 
walls, as officers knowing the Swedes and warfare against 
them. Zagloba roused courage in the men, and told tales 
of the enemy to those who hjid no knowledge of them yet ; 
and among warriors in the fortress there were many such, 
for so far the Sw^edes had not come to Zamost. 

Zagloba saw through Pan Zamoyski at once ; the latter 
conceived an immense love for the bulky noble, and turned 
to him on all questions, especially since he heard from 
Princess Griselda how Prince Yeremi had venerated Zagloba 
and called him vlr incompanibUis (the incomparable man). 
Every day then at table all kept tlieir ears open; and Za- 
globa discoursed of ancient and modern times, told of the 
wars with the Cossacks, of the treason of Radzivill, and 
how he himself had brought Pan Sapyeha into prominence 
among men. 

**I advised him," said he, "to carry hempseed in his 
pocket, and use a little now and then. He has grown so 
accustomed to this that he takes a grain every little while, 


puts it in his mouth, bites it, breaks it, eats it, spits out the 
husk. At night when he wakes he does the same. His 
wit is so sharj) now from hempseed tluit his greatest inti- 
mates do not recognizi' him.** 

" How is that ? " asked Zamoyski. 

** There is an oil in hempseed through which the man 
who eats it increases in wit.'' 

" God bless you,'' said one of the colonels ; ** but oil goes 
to the stomach, not to the head." 

" Oh, there is a method in things ! " answered Zagloba. 
*• It is needful in this case to di'ink as much wine as possible ; 
oil, being the lighter, is always on top ; wine, which goes 
to the head of itself, carries with it every noble substance. 
1 have this secret from Lupul the Hospodar, after whom, 
as is known to you, gentlemen, the AVallachians wished to 
create me hospodar ; but the SulUin, whose wish is that the 
hospodar should not have posterity, placed before me con- 
ditions to which I could not agree.'' 

"You must use a power of hempseed yourself," said 

" I do not need it at all, your worthiness ; but from my 
whole heart I advise you to take it." 

Hearing these bold words, some were frightened lest the 
starosta might take them to heart ; but whether he failed 
to notice them or did not wish to do so, it is enough that he 
merely laughed and asked, — 

"But would not sunflower seeds take the place of 
hemp ? " 

" They might," answered Zagloba ; " but since sunflower 
oil is heavier, it would be necessary to drink stronger wine 
than that which we are drinking at present." 

The starosta understood the hint, was amused, and gave 
immediate order to bring the best wines. Then all rejoiced 
in their hearts, and the rejoicing became universal. They 
drank and gave vivats to the health of the king, the host, 
and Pan Charnyetski. Zagloba fell into good humor and 
let no one speak. He described at great length the affair 
at Golamb, in which he had really fought well, for, serv- 
ing in the Lauda squadron, he could not do otherwise. But 
because he had learned from Swedish prisoners taken from 
the regiments of Dubois of the death of Prince Waldemar, 
Zagloba took responsibility for that death on himself. 

" The battle," said he, " would have gone altogether differ- 
ently were it not that the day before I went to Baranov to 


the canon of that place, and Charnyetski, not knowing 
where I was, could not advise witli me. Maybe the Swedes 
too had heard of that canon, for he hjis splendid mead, and 
they went at once to Grolamb. When I returned it was 
too late; the king had attacked, and it was necessary to 
strike at once. We went straight into the fire; but what 
is to be done when the general militia choose to show 
their contempt for the enemy by turning their backs '/ 
I don't know how Charnyetski will manage at present 
without me." 

"He will manage, have no fear on that point," said 

"I know why. The King of Sweden chooses to pursue 
me to Zamost rather than seek Charnyetski beyond the 
Vistula. I do not deny that Charnyetski is a good soldier ; 
but when he begins to twist his beard and look with his 
wildcat glance, it seems to an officer of the lightest squad- 
ron that he is a dragoon. He pays no attention to a man's 
office ; and this you yourselves saw when he gave orders to 
drag over the square with horses an honorable man, Pan 
Jyrski, only because he did not reach with liis detachment 
the place to which he was ordered. With a noble, gracious 
gentlemen, it is necessary to a(».t like a father, not like a 
dragoon. Say to him, ^Lord brother,' be kind, rouse his 
feelings, — he will call to mind the country and glory, 
will go farther for you than a dragoon who serves for a 

" A noble is a noble, and war is war," remarked Zamoyski. 

*• You have brought that out in a very masterly manner," 
answered Zagloba. 

" Pan Charnyetski will turn the plans of Karl into folly," 
said Volodyovski. " I have been in more than one war, and 
I can speak on this point." 

"First, we will make a fool of him at Zamost," said 
Sobiepan, pouting his lips, puffing, and showing great spirit, 
staring, and putting his hands on his hips. "Bah! Tfu! 
What do I care ? When I invite a man I open the door to 
him. WVU ! " 

Here Zamoyski began to puff still more mightily, to 
strike the table with his knees, bend forward, shake his 
head, look stern, flash his eyes, and speak, as was his habit, 
with a certain coarse carelessness. 

" What do I care ? He is lord in Sweden ; but Zamoyski 
is lord for himself in Zamost. Eques polonus sum (I am a 


Polish nobleman), nothing more. But I am in my own 
house ; I am Zamoyski, and he is King of Sweden ; but 
Maximilian was Austrian, was he not? Is he coming? 
Let him come. We shall see I Sweden is small for him, 
but Zamost is enough for me. I will not yield it." 

"It is a delight, gracious gentlemen, to hear not only 
such eloquence, but such honest sentiments," cried Zagloba. 

" Zamoyski is Zamoyski ! " continued Tan Sobiepan, de- 
lighted with the praise. *^ We have not lK)wed down, and 
we will not. 1 will not give 4ip Zamost, and that is the end 
of it." 

•' To the health of the host ! " thundered the officers. 

"Vivat! vivat!" 

"Pan Zagloba," cried Zamoyski, "I will not let the 
King of Sweden into Zamost, and I will not let you 

" I thank you for the favor ; but, your worthiness, do not 
do that, for as much as you torment Karl with the first 
decision, so much will you delight him with the second." 

" Give me your word that you will come to me after the 
war is over." 

"I give it." 

Long yet did they feast, then sleep began to overcome 
the knights ; therefore they went to rest, especially as sleep- 
less nights were soon to begin for them, since the Swedes 
were already near, and the advance guards were looked for 
at any hour. 

" So in truth he will not give up Zamost," said Zagloba, 
returning to his cxuarters with Pan Yan and Volodyovski. 
"Have you seen how we have fallen in love with each 
other ? It will be pleasant here in Zamost for me and you. 
The host and I have become so attached to each other that 
no cabinet-maker could join inlaid work better. He is a 
good fellow — h'm! If he were my knife and I carried 
him at my belt, I would whet him on a stone pretty often, 
for he is a trifle dull. But he is a good man, and he will 
not betray like those bull-drivers of Birji. Have you 
noticed how the magnates cling to old Zagloba ? I cannot 
keep them off. I 'm scarcely away from Sapyeha when 
there is another at hand. But I will tune this one as a 
bass-viol, and play such an aria on him for the Swedes that 
they will dance to death at Zamost. I will wind him up 
like a Dantzig clock with chimes." 

Xoise coming from the town interrupted further conver- 



sation. After a time an officer whom they knew passed 
quickly near them. 

*^ »Stop ! '' cried Volodyovski ; ** what is the matter ? " 

** There is a iire to be seen from the walls. Shchebjeshyu 
is burning ! The Swedes are there ! '' 

" Let us go on the walls," said Pan Yan. 

** Go ; but I will sleep, since I need my strength for to- 
morrow,'* answered Zagloba. 



That night Volodyovski went on a scouting expedition, 
and about morning returned with a number of infor- 
mants. These men asserted that the King of Sweden was 
at Shchebjeshyn in person, and would soon be at Zamost. 

Zamoyski was rejoiced at the news, for he hurried around 
greatly, and had a genuine desire to try his walls and guns 
on the Swedes. He considered, and very justly, that even 
if he had to yield in the end he would detain the power of 
Sweden for whole months ; and during that time Yan Kazi- 
mir would collect troops, bring the entire Tartar force to his 
aid, and organize in the whole country a powerful and victo- 
rious resistance. 

" Since the opportunity is given me," said he, with great 
sj)irit, at the military council, ** to render the country and the 
king notable service, I declare to you, gentlemen, that I will 
blow myself into the air before a Swedish foot shall stand 
here. They want to take Zamoyski by force. Let them 
take him ! We shall see who is better. You, gentlemen, 
will, I trust, aid me most heartily." 

*^ We are ready to perish with your grace," said the officers, 
in chorus. 

" If they will only besiege us," said Zagloba, " I will lead 
the first sortie." 

" I will follow, Uncle ! " cried Roh Kovalski ; ** I will spring 
at the king himself ! " 

*'Now to the walls ! " commanded Zamoyski. 

All went out. The walls were ornamented with soldiers 
as with flo^vers. Regiments of infantry, so splendid that they 
were unequalled in the whole Commonwealth, stood in readi- 
ness, one at the side of the other, with musket in hand, and 
eyes turned to the field. Not many foreigners served in 
these regiments, merely a few Prussians and French ; they 
were mainly peasants from Zamoyski's inherited lands. 
Sturdy, well-grown men, who, wearing colored jackets and 
trained in foreign fashion, fought as well as the best Crom- 
wellians of England. They were specially powerful when 


after firing it came to rush on tlie enemy in hand-to-hand 
conflict. And now, remembering their former triumphs 
over Hmelnitski, they were looking for the Swedes with 
impatience. At the cannons, which stretched out through 
the embrasures their long necks to tl^e fields as if in curios- 
ity, served mainly Flemings, the first of gunners. Outside 
the fortress, beyond the moat, were sc[uadrons of light cav- 
alry, safe themselves, for they were under cover of cannon, 
certain of refuge, and able at any moment to spring out 
whithersoever it might be needed. 

Zamoyski, wearing inlaid armor and carrying a gilded 
baton in his hand, rode around the walls, and inquired 
every moment, — 

** Well, what — not in sight yet ? " And he muttered oaths 
when he received negative answers on all sides. After a 
while he went to another side, and again he asked, — 

" Well, what — not in siglit yet ? " 

It was difficult to see the Swedes, for there was a mist in 
the air ; and only about ten o'clock in the forenoon did it 
begin to disappear. The heaven shining blue above the 
horizon became clear, and immediately on the western side 
of the walls they began to cry, — 

^* They are coming, they are coming, they are coming ! " 

Zamoyski, with three adjutants and Zagloba, entered 
quickly an angle of the walls from which there was a dis- 
tant view, and the four men began to look through field- 
glasses. The mist was lying a little on the ground yet, and 
the Swedish hosts, marching from Vyelanchy, seemed to 
be wading to the knees in that mist, as if they were com- 
ing out of wide waters. The nearer regiments had become 
very distinct, so that the naked eye could distinguish the 
infantry; they seemed like clouds of dark dust rolling on 
toward the town. Gradually more regiments, artillery, 
and cavalry appeared. 

The sight was beautiful. From each quadrangle of in- 
fantry rose an admirably regular quadrangle of spears ; 
between them waved banners of various colors, but niostlv 
blue with white crosses, and blue with golden lions. They 
came very near. On the walls there was silence ; therefore 
the breath of the air brought from the advancing army the 
squeaking of wheels, the clatter of armor, the tramp of 
horses, and the dull sound of human voices. When they 
had come within twice the distance of a shot from a cul* 
verin, they began to dispose themselves before the fortress. 


Some quiulrangles of infantry broke ranks ; others prepared 
to pitch tents and dig trenches. 

"They are here ! " said Zamoyski. 

"They are the dog-brothers ! " answered Zagloba. " They 
could be counted, man for man, on the fingers. Persons of 
my long experience, however, do not need to count, but sim- 
ply to cast an eyv. on them. There are ten thousand cavalry, 
and eight thousand infantry with artillery. If 1 am mis- 
taken in one common soldier or one horse, I am ready to 
redeem the mistake with my whole fortune." 

" Is it possible to estimate in that way ? " 

" Ten thousand cavalry and eight thousand infantry. I 
have hope in God that they will go away in nnich smaller 
numbers ; only let me lead one sortie." 

" Do you hear ? They are playing an aria." 

In fact, trumpeters and drummers stepped out befon* the 
regiments, and military music began. At the sound of it the 
more distant reginients approached, and encompassed the 
town from a distance. At last from the dense throngs a 
few horsemen rode forth. When half-way, they put white 
kerchiefs on their swords, and began to wave them. 

" An embassy ! " cried Zagloba ; " I saw how the scoun- 
drels came to Kyedani with the same boldness, and it is 
known what came of that." 

" Zamost is not Kyedani, and I am not the voevoda of 
Vilna," answered Zamoyski. 

Meanwhile the horsemen were approaching the gate. 
After a short time an officer of the day hurried to Zamoy- 
ski with a re]>ort that l*an Yan Sapyeha desired, in the 
name of the King of Sweden, to see him and speak with 

Zamoyski put his hands on his hips at once, began to step 
from one foot to the other, to puff, to pout, and said at last, 
with great animation, — 

" Tell Pan Sapyeha that Zamoyski does not speak with 
traitors. If the King of Sweden wishes to speak with me, 
let him send me a Swede by race, not a Pole, — for Poles 
who serve the Swedes may go as embassadors to my dogs ; 1 
have the same regard for both." 

" As God is d(»ar to me, that is an answer ! " cried Za- 
globa, with unfeigned entlnisiasm. 

*' Hut devil take them ! " said the starosta, roused by his 
own words and by ]>raise. "AVell, shall I stand on cere- 
mony with them ? " 


" Peimit me, your worthiness, to take him that answer," 
said Zagloba. And without waiting, he hastened away 
with the officer, went to Yan Sapyeha, and, apparently, not 
only repeated the starosta's words, b'ut added something very 
bad from himself ; for Sapyeha turned from the town as if 
a thunderbolt had burst in front of his horse, and rode away 
with his cap thrust over his ears. 

From the walls and from the squadrons of the cavalry 
which were standing before the gate they began to hoot at 
the men riding off, — 

" To the kennel with traitors, the betrayers ! Jew ser- 
vants ! Huz, huz ! " 

Sapyeha stood before the king, pale, with compressed lips. 
The king too was confused, for Zamost had deceived his 
hopes. In spite of what had been said, he expected to find 
a town of such power of resistance as Cracow, Poznan, and 
other places, so many of which he had captured; meanwhile 
he found a fortress powerful, calling to mind those of Den- 
mark and the Netherlands, which he could not even think 
of taking without guns of heavy calibre. 

" What is the result ? " asked the king, when he saw 

"Nothing I Zamoyski will not speak with Poles who 
serve your Royal Grace. He sent out his jester, who reviled 
me and your Royal Grace so shamefully that it is not proper 
to repeat what he said." 

" It is all one to me with whom he wants to speak, if he 
will only speak. In default of other arguments, I have iron 
arguments ; but meanwhile I will send Forgell." 

Half an hour later Forgell, with a purely Swedish suite, 
announced himself at the gate. The drawbridge was let 
down slowly over the moat, and the general entered the 
fortress amid silence and seriousness. Neither the eyes of 
the envoy nor those of any man in his suite were bound ; 
evidently Zamoyski wished him to see everything, and be 
able to rei)ort to the king touching everything. The mas- 
ter (^f Zamost received Forgell with as much splendor as 
an independent prince wcmld have done, and arranged all, 
in truth, admirablv, for Swedish lords had not one twelfth 
as much wealth as the Poles ha<l ; and Zamoyski among 
Poles was well-nigh the most i)Owerful. The clever Swede 
began at once to treat hini as if the king had sent the em- 
bassy to a monarcli equal to himself; to l)egin with, he 
called him " Princeps/' and continued to address him thus, 


though Pail Sobiepau interrupted him promptly in the 
beginning, — 

" Not prineeps, eques polonus (a Polish nobleman), but for 
that very reason the equal of princes." 

"Your princely grace," said Forgell, not permitting 
himself to be diverted, " the Most Serene King of Sweden 
and Lord," here he enumerated his titles, " has not come 
liere as an enemy in any sense ; but, speaking sim])ly, has 
come on a visit, and through mo announces himself, having, 
as I believe, a well-founded hope that your princely grace 
will desire to open your gates to him and his army." 

"It is not a custom with us," answered Zamoyski, " to 
refuse liospitality to any man, even should he come unin- 
vited. There will always be a place at my table for a 
guest; but for such a worthy person as the Swedish 
monarch the first place. Inform then the Most Serene 
King of Sweden that I invite him, and all the more gladly 
since the Most Serene Carol us Gustavus is lord in Sweden, 
as I am in Zamost. But as your worthiness has seen, there 
is no lack of servants in my house ; therefore his Swedish 
Serenity neetl not bring liis servants witJi him. Should he 
bring them I might think that he counts me a poor man, 
and wishes to show me contempt." 

" Well done ! " w^hispered Zagloba, standing behind tlie 
slioulders of Pan Sobiepan. 

When Zamoyski had finished his speech he began to 
pout his lips, to puff and repeat, — 

" Ah, here it is, this is the iK)sition ! " 

Forgell bit his mustache, was silent awhile, and said, — 

" It would he the greatest proof of distrust toward the 
king if your princely grace were not pleased to admit his 
garrison to tlie fortress. I am the king's confidant. I know 
liis innermost thoughts, and besides this I have the order to 
announce to your wortliiness, and to give assurance by 
word in the name of the king, that he does not think of 
occupying the possessions of Zamost or this fortress 
permanently. But since war has broken out anew in this 
unhappy land, since rebellion has raised its head, and Yan 
Kazimir, unmindful of the miseries whicli may fall on 
the Commonwealth, and seeking only his own fortune, has 
returned witliin the boundaries, and, together with pagans, 
comes forth against our Christian troops, the invincible 
king, my lord, Ims determined to pursue him, even to the 
wild steppes of the Tartars and the Turks, with the sole 


purpose of restoring peace to the country, the reign of 
justice, prosperity, and freedom to the inhabitants of this 
illustrious Commonwealth." 

Z«amoyski struck his knee with his hand without saying 
a word ; but Zagloba whispered, — 

"The Devil has dressed himself in vestments, and is 
ringing for Mass with his tail." 

" Many benefits have accrued to this land already from 
the protection of the king," continued Forgell ; " but think- 
ing in his fatherly heart that lie has not done enough, he 
lias left his Prussian province again to go once more to the 
rescue of the Commonwealth, which depends on finishing 
Yan Kazimir. But that this new war should have a speedy 
and victorious conclusion, it is needful that the king oc- 
cupy for a time this fortress. It is to be for his troops a 
l)oint from which pursuit may begin against rebels. But 
hearing that he who is the lord of Zamost surpasses all, 
not only in wealth, antiquity of stock, wit, high-minded- 
ness, but also in love for the country, the king, my master, 
said at once : * He will understand me, he will be able to 
appreciate my intentions respecting this country, he will 
not deceive my confidence, he will surpass my hopes, he 
will be the first to put his hand to the prosperity and peace 
of this country.' This is the truth ! So on you depends 
the future fate of this country. You may save it and 
become the father of it ; therefore I have no doubt of 
what you will do. Whoever inherits from his ancestors 
such fame should not avoid an oi)portuiiity to increase that 
fame and make it immortal. In truth, you will do more 
good by opening the gates of this fortress than if you had 
added a whole province to the Commonwealth. The king 
is confident that your uncommon wisdom, together with 
your heart, will incline you to this; therefore he will not 
command, he prefers to request, he throws aside threats, he 
offers friendship ; not as a ruler with a subject, but as 
powerful with powerful does lie wish to deal." 

Here General Forgell bowed before Zamoyski with as 
much respect as before an independent monarch. In the 
hall it grew silent. All eyes were fixed on Zamoyski. He 
began to twist, according to his custom, in his gilded arm- 
chair, to pout his lips, and exhibit stern resolve ; at last he 
thrust out his elbows, placed his palms on his knees, and 
shaking his head like a restive horse, began, — 

" This is what I have to say ! I am greatly thankful to 


his Swedish Serenity for the lofty opiniou which he has 
of my wit and my love for the Commonwealth. Nothing 
is dearer to me than the friendship of such a potentate. 
But I think that we might love each other all the same if 
his Swedish Serenity remained in Stockholm and I in 
Zamost ; that is what it is. For Stockholm belongs to his 
Swedish Serenity, and Zamost to me. As to love for the 
Commonwealth, this is what I think. The Commonwealth 
will not improve by the coming in of the Swedes, but by 
their departure. That is my argument! I believe that 
Zamost might help his Swedish Serenity to victory over 
Yau Kazimir ; but your worthiness should know that I have 
not given oath to his Swedish Grace, but to Yan Kazimir ; 
therefore I wish victory to Yan Kazimir, and I will not 
give Zamost to the King of Sweden. That is my position ! " 

" That policy suits me ! " said Zagloba. 

A joyous murmur rose in the hall; but Zamoyski 
slapped his knees with his hands, and the sounds were 

Forgell was confused, and was silent for a time ; then he 
began to argue anew, insisted a little, threatened, begged, 
flattered. Latin flowed from his mouth like a stream, till 
drops of sweat were on his forehead ; but all was in vain, 
for after his best arguments, so strong that they might move 
walls, he heard always one answer, — 

" But still I will not yield Zamost ; that is my position ! " 

The audience continued beyond measure ; at last it 
became awkward and difficult for Forgell, since mirth was 
seizing those present. More and more frequently some word 
fell, some sneer, — now from Zagloba, now from others, — 
after which smothered laughter was heard in the hall. 
Forgell saw finally that it was necessary to use the last 
means ; therefore he unrolled a parchment with seals, 
which he held in his hand, and to which no one had turned 
attention hitherto, and rising said with a solemn, emphatic 
voice, — 

" For opening the gates of the fortress his Royal Grace," 
here again he enumerated the titles, " gives your princely 
grace the province of Lubelsk in perpetual possession." 

All were astonished when they heard this, and Zamoyski 
himself was astonished for a moment. Forgell had begun 
to turn a triumphant look on the people around him, when 
suddenly and in deep silence Zagloba, standing behind 
Zamoyski, said in Polish, — 

VOL. II. — 22 


" Your worthiness, offer the King of Sweden the 
Netherlands in exchange." 

Zaraoyski, without thinking long, put his hands on his 
hips and fired through the whole hall in Latin, — 

"And I offer to his Swedish Serenity the Netherlands ! " 

That moment the hall resounded with one immense burst 
of laughter. The breasts of all were shaking, and the 
girdles on their bodies were shaking ; some clapped their 
hands, others tottered as drunken men, some leaned on 
their neighbors, but the laughter sounded continuously. 
Forgell was pale; he frowned terribly, but he waited 
with fire in his eyes and his heatl raised haughtily. At 
last, when the paroxysm of laughter had passed, he asked 
in a short, broken voice, — 

" Is that the final answer of your worthiness ? "' 

Zamoyski twirled his mustache. " No ! " said he, rais- 
ing his head still more proudly, ^* for 1 have cannon on the 

The embassy waa at an end. 

Two hours later cannons were thundering from the 
trenches of the Swedes, but Zamoyski's guns answered them 
with equal power. All Zamost was covered with smoke, as 
with an immense cloud ; moment after moment there were 
flashes in that cloud, and thunder roared unceasingly. But 
tire from the heavy fortress guns was preponderant. The 
Swedish balls fell in the moat or bounded without effect 
from the strong angles ; toward evening the enemy were 
forced to draw back from the nearer trenches, for the 
fortress was covering them with such a rain of missiles 
that nothing living could endure it. The Swedish king, 
carried away by anger, commanded to burn all the villages 
and hamlets, so that the neighborhood seemed in the 
night one sea of fire ; but Zamoyski cared not for that. 

*^ All right ! '' said he, " let them burn. We have a roof 
over our heads, but soon it will he pouring down their 

And he was so satisfied with himself and rejoiced that he 
made a great feast that day and remained till late at the 
cups. A resounding orchestra played at the feast so loudly 
that, in spite of the thunder of artillery, it could be heard 
in the remotest trenches of the Swedes. 

But the Swedes cannonaded continually, so constantly 
indeed that the firing lasted the whole night. Next day a 
number of guns were brought to the king, which as soon as 


they were placed in the trenches began to work against the 
fortress. The king did not expect, it is true, to make a 
breach in the walls ; he merely wished to instil into Zamoy- 
ski the conviction that he had determined to storm furiously 
and mercilessly. He wished to bring terror on them ; but 
that was bringing terror on Poles.* Zamoyski paid no at- 
tention to it for a moment, and often while on the walls he 
said, in time of the heaviest cannonading, — 

'' Why do they waste powder ? '' 

Voloclyovski and the others offered to make a sortie, but 
Zamoyski would not permit it; he did not wish to waste 
blood. He knew besides that it would be necessary to de- 
liver open battle ; for such a careful warrior as the king and 
such a trained army would not let themselves be surprised. 
Zagloba, seeing this fixed determination, insisted all the 
more, and guaranteed that he would lead the sortie. 

" You are too bloodthirsty ! " answered Zamoyski. " It 
is pleasant for us and unpleasant for the Swedes; why 
should we go to them ? You might fall, and I need you as 
a councillor ; for it was by your wit that I confounded For- 
gell so by mentioning the Netherlands." 

Zagloba answered that he could not restrain himself 
within the walls, he wanted so much to get at the Swedes ; 
but he was forced to obey. In default of other occupation 
he spent his time on the walls among the soldiers, dealing 
out to them precautions and counsel with importance, which 
all heard with no little respect, holding him a greatly expe- 
rienced warrior, one of the foremost in the Commonwealth ; 
and he was rejoiced in soul, looking at the defence and the 
spirit of the knighthood. 

" Pan Michael," said he to Volodj'ovski, " there is another 
spirit in the Commonwealth and in the nobles. No one 
thinks now of treason or surrender ; and every one out of 
good-will for the Commonwealth and the king is ready to 
give his life sooner than yield a step to the enemy. You 
remember how a year ago from every side was heard, 'This 
one has betrayed, that one has betrayed, a third has Jic- 
cepted protection ; ' and now the Swedes need protection 
more than we. If the Devil does not protect them, he will 
soon take them. We have our stomachs so full here that 
drummers might beat on them, but their entrails are twisted 
into whips from hunger." 

I •• Strachy ua Lacby " (Terror on Poles) is a Polish sajing, aboat 
equivalent to *' impossible." 


Zagloba was right. The Swedish army had no supplies ; 
and for eighteen thousand men, not to mention horses, there 
was no place from which to get supplies. Zamoyski, before 
the arrival of the enemy, hai brought in from all his estates 
for many miles around food for man and horse. In the 
more remote neighborhoods of the country swarmed parties 
of confederates and bands of armed peasants, so that forag- 
ing detachments could not go out, since just beyond the 
camp certain death was in waiting. 

In addition to this, Pan Charnyetski had not gone to the 
west bank of the Vistula, but was circling about the Swedish 
army like a wild beast around a sheepfold. Again nightly 
alarms had begun, and the loss of smaller parties without 
tidings. Near Krasnik appeared certain Polish troops, 
which had cut communication with the Vistula. Finally, 
news came that Pavel Sapyeha, the hetman, was marching 
from the north with a powerful Lithuanian army ; that in 
passing he had destroyed the garrison at Lublin, had taken 
Lublin, and was coming with cavalry to Zamost. 

Old Witteml)erg, the most experienced of the Swedish 
leaders, saw the whole ghastliness of the position, and laid 
it plainly before the king. 

" I know," said he, "that the genius of your Royal Grace 
can do wonders ; but judging things in human fashion, 
hunger will overcome us, and when the enemy fall upon 
our emaciated army not a living foot of us will escape.'* 

"If I had this fortress," answered the king, "I could 
finish the war in two months." 

" For such a fortress a year's siege is short." 

The king in his soul recognized that the old warrior was 
right, but he did not acknowledge that he saw no means 
himself, that his genius was strained. He counted yet on 
some unexpected event ; hence he gave orders to fire night 
and day. 

" I will bend the spirit in them," said he ; " they will be 
more inclined to treaties." 

After some days of cannonading so furious that the light 
could not be seen behind the smoke, the king sent Forgell 
again to the fortress. 

" The king, my master," said Forgell, appearing be- 
fore Zamoyski, " considers that the damage which Zamost 
must have suffered from our cannonading will soften 
the lofty mind of your princely grace and incline it to 



To which Zamoyski said : " Of course there is damage ! 
Why should there not be ? You killed on the market square 
a pig, which was struck in the belly by the fragment of a 
bomb. If you cannonade another week, perhaps you '11 kill 
another pig." 

Forgell took that answer to the king. In the evening a 
new council was held in the king's quarters ; next day the 
Swedes began to pack their tents in wagons and draw their 
cannon out of the trenches, and in the night the whole army 
moved onward. 

Zamost thundered after them from all its artillery, and 
when they had vanished from the eye two squadrons, tlie 
Shemberk and the Lauda, passed out through the southern 
gate and followed in their track. 

The Swedes marched southward. Wittemberg advised, 
it is true, a return to Warsaw, and with all his power he 
tried to convince the king that that was the only road of 
salvation ; but the Swedish Alexander had determined abso- 
lutely to pursue the Polish Darius to the remotest bounda- 
ries of the kingdom. 



The spring of that year approached with wonderful roads ; 
for while in the north of the Commonwealth snow was al- 
ready thawing, the stiffened rivers were set free, and the 
whole country was filled with March water, in the south 
the icy breath of winter was still descending from the moun- 
tains to the fields, woods, and for(\sts. Tn the forests lay 
snow-drifts, in the open country frozen roads sounded under 
the hoofs of liorses ; the days were dry, the sunsets red, the 
nights starry and frosty. The ])eo]>le living on the rich 
day, on the black soil, and in the woods of Little Poland 
comforted themselves with the continuance of the cold, 
stating that the field-mice and the Swedes would perish 
from it. But inasmuch as the spring came late, it came as 
swiftly as an armored s(piadron advancing to the attack of 
an enemy. The sun shot down living fire from heaven, and 
at once the crust of winter burst; from the Hungarian 
steppes flew a strong warm wind, and l>egan to blow on the 
fields and wild places. Straightway in the midst of shining 
ponds arable ground became dark, a green fleece shot up on 
the low river-lands, and the forests began to shed tears from 
bursting buds on their branches. 

Tn the heavens continually fair were seen, daily, rows of 
cranes, wild ducks, teal, and geese. Storks flew to their 
places of the past year, and the roofs were swarming with 
swallows ; the twitter of birds was heard in the villages, 
their noise in the woods and ponds, and in the evening the 
whole country wivs ringing with the croaking and singing 
of frogs, which swam with delight in the waters. 

Then came great rains, which were as if they had been 
warmed ; they fell in the daytime, they fell in the night, 
without interruption. 

The fields were turned into lakes, the rivers overflowed, 
the fords became impassable ; then followed the " stickiness 
and the impossible of muddy roads." Amid all this water, 
mud, and swamp the Swedish legions dragged onward con- 
tinually toward the south. 


But how little was that throng, advancing as it were to 
fh'struction, like that brilliant army which in its time 
marched under Wittemberg to Great Poland ! Hunger had 
stamped itself on the faces of the old soldiers ; they went on 
more like spectres than men, in suffering, in toil, in sleep- 
lessness, knowing that at the end of the road not food was 
awaiting, but hunger ; not sleep, but a battle ; and if rest, 
then the rest of the dead. 

Arrayed in iron these skeletons of horsemen sat on skele- 
tons of horses. The infantry hardly drew their legs along ; 
barely coidd they hold spears and muskets with trembling 
hands. Day followed day ; they went onward continually. 
Wagons were broken, cannons were fastened in sloughs ; 
they went on so slowly that sometimes they were able to 
advance hardly five miles in one day. Diseases fell on the 
soldiers, like ravens on corpses; the teeth of some were 
chattering from fever ; others lay down on the ground sim- 
ply from weakness, choosing rather to die than advance. 

But the Swedish Alexander hastened toward the Polish 
Darius unceasingly. At the same time he was pursued 
liimself. As in the night-time jackals follow a sick buffalo 
waiting to see if he will soon fall, and he knows that he 
will fall and he hears the howl of the hungry pack, so after 
the Swedes went " parties," nobles and peasants, approach- 
ing ever nearer, attacking ever more insolently, and snatch- 
ing away. 

At last came Charnyetski, the most terrible of all the pur- 
suers, and followed closely. The rearguards of the Swedes 
as often as they looked behind saw horsemen, at one time 
far off on the edge of the horizon, at another a furlong 
away, at another twice the distance of a musket-shot, at an- 
other time, when attacking, on their very shoulders. 

The enemy wanted battle ; with despair did the Swedes 
pray to the Lonl of Hosts for battle. But Charnyetski did 
not receive battle, he bided his time; meanwhile he pre- 
ferred to punish the Swedes, or let go from his hand against 
them single parties as one would falcons against water 

Anil so they marched one after the other. There were 
times, however, when Charnyetski passed the Swedes, 
pushed on, and blocked the road before them, pretending 
to prepare for a general battle. Then the trumpet sounded 
joyously from one end of the Swedish camp to the other, 
and, oh miracle! new strength, a new spirit seemed to 


vivify on a sudden the wearied ranks of the Scandinavians. 
Sick, wet, weak, like Lazaruses. tliey stood in rank 
promptly for battle, with flaming faces, with fire in their 
eyes. * Spears and muskets moved with as much accuracy 
as if iron hands held them ; the shouts of battle were heard 
as loudly as if they came from the healthiest bosoms, and 
they marched forward to strike breast against breast. 

Then Charnyetski struck once, twice ; but when the ar- 
tillery began to thunder he withdrew his troops, leaving to 
the Swedes as profit, vain labor and the greater disappoint- 
ment and disgust. 

When, however, the artillery could not come up, and 
spears and sabres had to decide in the open field, he struck 
like a thunderbolt, knowing that in a hand-to-hand con- 
flict the Swedish cavalry could not stand, even against 

And again Wittemberg implored the king to retreat and 
thus avoid ruin to himself and the army ; but Karl Gustav 
in answer compressed his lips, fire flashed from his eyes, 
and he pointed to the south, where in the Russian regions 
he hoped to find Yan Kazimir, and also fields open to 
conquest, rest, provisions, pastures for horses, and rich 

Meanwhile, to complete the misfortune, those Polish regi- 
ments which had served him hitherto, and which in one 
way or another were now alone able to meet Charnyetski, 
began to leave the Swedes. Pan Zbrojek resigned first ; he 
had held to Karl hitherto not from desire of gain, but from 
blind attachment to the squadron, and soldierly faithfulness 
to Karl. He resigned in this fashion, that he engaged in 
conflict with a regiment of Miller's dragoons, cut down 
half the men, and departed. After him resigned Pan Kalin- 
ski, who rode over the Swedish infantry. Yan Sapyeha 
grew gloomier each day ; he was meditating something in 
his soul, plotting something. He had not gone hitherto 
himself, but his men were deserting him daily. 

Karl Gustav was marching then through Xarol, Tsye- 
shanov, and Oleshytse, to reach the San. He was upheld by 
the hope that Yan Kazimir would bar his road and give 
him battle. A victory might yet repair the fate of Sweden 
and bring a change of fortune. In fact, rumors were cur- 
rent that Yan Kazimir had set out from Lvoff with the quarter 
soldiers and the Tartars. But Karl's reckonings deceived 
him. Yan Kazimir preferred to await the junction of the 


armies and the arrival of the Lithuanians under Sapyeha. 
Delay was his best ally ; for he was growing daily in 
strength, while Karl was becoming weaker. 

" That is not the march of troops nor of an army, but a 
funeral procession!" said old warriors in Yan Kazimir's 

Many Swedish officers shared this opinion. Karl Gustav 
liowever repeated still that he was going to Lvoff ; but he 
was deceiving himself and his army. It was not for him to 
go to Lvoff, but to think of his own safety. Besides, it was 
not certain that he would find Yan Kazimir in Lvoff; in 
every event the " Polish Darius " might withdraw far into 
Podolia, and draw after him the enemy into distant steppes 
where the Swedes must perish without rescue. 

Douglas went to Premysl to try if that fortress would 
yield, and returned, not merely with nothing, but plucked. 
The catastrophe was coming slowly, but inevitably. All 
tidings brought to the Swedish camp were simply the an- 
nouncement of it. Each day fresh tidings and ever more 

" Sapyeha is marching ; he is already in Tomashov ! " was 
repeated one day. " Lyubomirski is marching with troops 
and mountaineers ! " was announced the day following. 
And again : " The king is leading the quarter soldiers and 
the horde one hundred thousand strong ! He has joined 
Sapyeha ! " 

Among these tidings were "tidings of disaster and death," 
untrue and exaggerated, but they always spread fear. The 
courage of the army fell. Formerly whenever Karl ap- 
peared in person before his regiments, they greeted him 
with shouts in which rang the hope of victory ; now the 
regiments stood before him dull and dumb. And at the 
fires the soldiers, famished and wearied to death, whispered 
more of Charnyetski than of their own king. They saw 
him everywhere. And, a strange thing! when for a 
couple of days no party had perished, when a few nights 
passed without alarms or cries of " Allah ! " and " Strike, 
kill!" their disquiet became still greater. "Charnyetski 
has fled ; God knows what he is preparing ! " repeated the 

Karl halted a few days in Yaroslav, pondering what 
to do. During that time the Swedes placed on flat- 
bottomed boats sick soldiers, of whom there were many in 
camp, and sent them by the river to Sandomir, the nearest 


fortified town still in Swedish hands. After this work had 
been finished, and just when the news of Van Kazimir's 
march from Lvoff had come in, the King of Sweden deter- 
mined to discover where Yan Kazimir was, and witli that 
object Colonel Kanneberg with one thousand cavalry 
passed the San and moved to the east. 

" It may be that you have in your hancLs the fate of the 
war and us all," said the king to him at parting. 

And in truth much depended on that party, for in the 
worst case Kanneberg was to furnish the camp wdth pro- 
visions ; and if he could learn certainly where Yan Kazimir 
was, the Swedish King was to move at once with all his 
forces against the " Polish Darius,'' whose army he was to 
scatter and whose person he was to seize if he could. 

The first soldiers and the l>est horses were assigned, 
therefore, to Kanneberg. Choice was made the more 
carefully as the colonel could not take artillery or infantry ; 
hence ho must have with him men who with sabres could 
stand against Polish cavalry in the field. 

March 20, the party set out. A number of oiiicers and 
soldiers took farewell of them, saying : " God conduct 
you ! God give victory ! God give a fortunate return ! '^ 
They marched in a long line, being one thousand in num- 
ber, and went two abreast over the newly built bridge 
which had one square still unfinished, but was in some 
fa.shion covered with planks so that they might pass. 

Good hope shone in their faces, for they were excep- 
tionally well fed. Food had been taken from others and 
given to them ; gorailka was poured into their flasks. 
When they were riding away they shouted joyfully and 
said to their comrades, — 

"We will bring you Charnyetski himself on a rope." 

Fools I They knew not that they were going as go bul- 
locks to slaughter at the shambles ! 

Everything combined for their ruin. Barely had they 
crossed the river when the Swedish sappers removed the 
temporary covering of the bridge, so as to lay stronger 
planks over which cannon might pass. The' thousand 
turned toward Vyelki Ochi, singing in low voices to them- 
selves ; their helmets glittered in the sun on the turn once 
and a second time; then they began to sink in the dense 

They rode forward two miles and a half, — emptiness, 
silence around them; the forest depths seemed vacant 


altogether. They halted to give breath to the horses; 
after that they moved slowly forward. At last they reached 
Vyelki Ochi, in which they found not a living soul. That 
emptiness astonished Kanneberg 

" Evidently they liave been waiting for us here," said he 
to Major Sweno ; " but Charnyetski must be in some other 
place, since he has not prepared ambushes." 

" Does your worthiness order a return ? " asked Sweno. 

'* We will go on even to Lvoff itself, which is not very far. 
I must find an informant, and give the king sure information 
touching Yan Kazimir." 

** But if we meet superior forces ? " 

** Even if we meet sever Jil thousand of those brawlers 
whom the Poles call general militia, we will not let our- 
selves be torn apart by such soldiers." 

" But Ave may meet regular troops. We have no artillery, 
and against them cannons are the main thing." 

*^ Then we will draw back in season and inform the king 
of the enemy, and those who try to cut off our retreat we 
will disperse." 

** I am afraid of the night ! " replied Sweno. 

" We will take every i)recaution. We have food for men 
and horses for two days ; we need not hurry." 

When they entered the pine-wood beyond Vyelki Ochi, 
they acted with vastly more caution. Fifty horsemen rode 
in advance musket in hand, each man with his gunstock on 
his thigh. They looked carefully on every side ; examined 
the thickets, the undergrowth; frequently they halted, 
listened ; sometimes they went from the road to one side 
to examine the depths of the forest, but neither on the 
roads nor at the sides was there a man. 

But one hour later, after they had passed a rather sudden 
turn, two troopers riding in advance saw a man on horse- 
back about four hundred yards ahead. 

The day was clear and the sun shone brightly ; hence the 
man could be seen as something on the hand. He was a 
soldier, not large, dressed very decently in foreign fashion. 
He seemed especially small because he sat on a large cream- 
colored steed, evidently of high breed. 

The horseman was riding at leisure, as if not seeing that 
troops were rolling on after him. The spring floods had 
dug deep ditches in the road, in which muddy water was 
sweeping along. The horseman spurred his steed in front 
of the ditches, and the beast sprang across with the nimble- 


ness of a deer, and again went on at a trot, throwing his head 
and snorting vivaciously from time to time. 

The two troopers reined in their horses and began to 
look around for the sergeant. He clattered up in a moment, 
looked, and said: "That is some hound from the Polish 

" Shall I shout at him ? " 

*• Shout not ; there may be more of them. Gro to the 

Meanwhile the rest of the advance guard rode up, and all 
halted ; the small horseman halted too, and turned the face 
of his steed to the Swedes as if wishing to block the road 
to them. For a certain time they looked at him and he at 

" There is another ! a second ! a third ! a fourth ! a 
whole party ! " were the sudden cries in the Swedish ranks. 

In fact, horsemen began to pour out from both sides of 
the road ; at first singly, then by twos, by threes. All took 
their places in line with him who had appeared first. 

But the second Swedish guard with Sweno, and then the 
whole detachment with Kanneberg, came up. Kanneberg 
and Sweno rode to the front at once. 

" I know those men ! " cried Sweno, when he had barely 
seen them j " their squadron was the first to strike on Prince 
Waldemar at Golamb ; those are Charnyetski's men. He 
must be here himself ! " 

These words produced an impression ; deep silence fol- 
lowed in the ranks, only the horses shook their bridle-bits. 

" I snifF some ambush," continued Sweno. " There are too 
few of them to meet us, but there must be others hidden in 
the woods." 

He turned here to Kannel>erg ; " Your worthiness, let us 

" You give good counsel," answered the colonel, frowning. 
** It was not worth while to set out if we must return at 
sight of a few ragged fellows. Why did we not return at 
sight of one ? Forward 1 " 

The first Swedish rank moved at that moment with the 
greatest regularity ; after it the second, the third, the fourth. 
The distance between the two detachments was becoming 

" Cock your muskets ! " commanded Kanneberg. 

The Swedish muskets moved like one ; their iron necks 
were stretched toward the Polish horsemen. 


But before the muskets thundered, the Polish horsemen 
turned their horses and began to flee in a disorderly group. 

" Forward ! " cried Kanneberg. 

The division moved forward on a gallop, so that the ground 
trembled under the heavy hoofs of the horses. 

The forest was filled with the shouts of pursuers and 
pursued. After "half an hour of chasing, either because the 
Swedish horses were better, or those of the Poles were 
wearied by some journey, the distance between the two 
bodies was decreasing. 

But at once something wonderful happened. The Polish 
band, at first disorderly, did not scatter more and more as 
the flight continued, but on the contrary, they fled in ever 
better order, in ranks growing more even, as if the very 
speed of the horses brought the riders into line. 

Sweno saw this, urged on his horse, reached Kanneberg, 
and called out, — 

" Your worthiness, that is an uncommon party ; those 
are regular soldiers, fleeing designedly and leading us to 
an ambush." 

" Will there be devils in the ambush, or men ? " asked 

The road rose somewhat and became ever wider, the 
forest thinner, and at the end of the road was to be seen an 
unoccupied field, or rather a great open space, surrounded 
on all sides by a dense, deep gray pine-wood. 

The Polish horsemen increased their pace in turn, and it 
transpired that hitherto they had gone slowly of purpose ; 
for now in a short time they pushed forward so rapidly that 
the Swedish leader knew that he could never overtake them. 
But when he had come to the middle of the open plain and 
saw that the enemy were almost touching the other end of 
it, he began to restrain his men and slacken speed. 

But, oh marvel ! the Poles, instead of sinking in the oppo- 
site forest, wheeled around at the very edge of the half- 
circle and returned on a gallop toward the Swedes, putting 
themselves at once in such splendid battle order that they 
roused wonder even in their opponents. 

" It is true ! " cried Kanneberg, " those are regular soldiers. 
They turned as if on parade. What do they want for the 
hundredth time ? " 

" They are attacking us ! " cried Sweno. 

In fact, the squadron was moving forward at a trot. The 
little knight on the cream-colored steed shouted something 


to his uieii, pushed forward, again reiued in his horse, gave 
signs with his sabre ; evidently he was the leader. 

" They are attacking really ! " said Kanneberg, with 

And now the horses, with ears dropped back, were coming 
at the greatest speed, stretched out so that their bellies 
almost touched the ground. Their riders bent forward to 
their shoulders, and were hidden behind the horse manes. 
The Swedes standing in the first rank saw only hundreds 
of distended horse-nostrils and burning eyes. A whirlwind 
does not move as that squadron tore on. 

" God with us ! Sweden ! Fire ! " commanded Kanneberg, 
raising his sword. 

All the muskets thundered ; but at that very moment the 
Polish squadron fell into the smoke with such impetus that it 
hurled to the right and the left the first Swedish ranks, and 
drove itself into the density of men and horses, as a wedge is 
driven into a cleft log. A terrible whirl was made, breast- 
plate struck breast-plate, sabre struck rapier ; and the rattle, 
the whining of horses, the groan of dying men roused every 
echo, so that the whole puie-wood began to give back the 
sounds of the battle, as the steep cliffs of mountains give 
back the thunder. 

The Swedes were confused for a time, especially since a 
considerable number of them fell from the first blow ; but 
soon recovering, they went ix)werfully against the enemy. 
Their flanks came together ; and since the Polish squadron 
was pushing ahead anyhow, for it wished to pass through 
with a thrust, it was soon surrounded. The Swedish centre 
yielded before the squadron, but the flanks pressed on it 
with the greater power, unable to break it ; for it defended 
itself with rage and with all that incom])aral)le adroitness 
which made the Polish cavalry so terrible in hand-to-hand 
conflict. Sabres toiled then against rapiers, bodies fell 
thickly ; but the victory was just turning to the Swedish 
side when suddenly from under the dark wall of the pine- 
wood rolled out anotlier squadron, and moved forward at 
once with a shout. 

The whole right wing of the Swedes, under the lead of 
Sweno, faced the new enemy in which the trained Swedish 
soldiers recognized hussars. They were led by a man on a 
valiant dap)>le gray ; he wore a burkji, and a wild-cat skin cap 
with a heron feather. He was perfectly visible to the eye, 
for he was riding at one side some yards from the soldiers. 


" Charuyetski I Charnyetski I " was the cry iu the Swe- 
dish ranks. 

Sweno looked in despair at the sky, then pressed his 
horse with his knees and rushed forward with his men. 

But Charnyetski led his hussars a few yards farther, and 
when they were moving with the swiftest rush, he turned 
back alone. 

With that a third squadron issued from the forest, he 
galloped to that and led it forward ; a fourth came out, he 
led that on ; pointing to each with his baton, where it must 
strike. You would have said that he was a man leading 
harvesters to his field and distributing work among them. 

At last, when the fifth squadron had come forth from the 
forest, he put himself at tlie head of that, and with it rushed 
to the fight. 

But the hussars had already forced the right wing to the 
rear, and after a while had broken it completely ; the three 
other squadrons, racing around the Swedes in Tai-tar fashion 
and raising an uproar, had thrown them into disorder ; then 
they fell to cutting them with steel, to thrusting them with 
lances, scattering, trampling, and finally pursuing them 
amid shrieks and slaughter. 

Kanneberg saw that he had fallen into an ambush, and 
had led his detachment as it were inider the knife. For him 
there was no thought of victory now ; but he wished to save 
as many men as possible, hence he ordered to sound the re- 
treat. The Swedes, therefore, turned ^vith all speed to that 
same road bv which tliev had come to Vvelki Ochi ; but 
Charnyetski's men so followed them that the breaths of the 
Polish horses warmed the shoidders of the Swedes. 

In these conditicms and in view of the terror which had 
seized thi^ Swedisli cavalry, that return coukl not take place 
in order; and soon Kannei3erg's brilliant division was turned 
into a crowd fleeing in disorder and slaughtered almost 
without resistanct?. 

The longer the pursuit lasted, the more irregular it be- 
came; for the Poles did not pursue in order, each of them 
drove his horse aci^ording to the breath in the beast's 
nostrils, and attacked and slew whom he wished. 

Both sides were mingled and confused in one mass. 
Some Polish soldiers passed the last Swedish ranks ; and it 
happened that when a Pole stood in his stirrups to strike 
with more power the man fleeing in front of him, he fell 
himself thrust with a rapier from behind. The road to 


Vyelki Ochi was strewn with Swedish corpses ; but the end 
of the chase w^as not there. Both sides rushed with the 
same force along the road through the next forest ; there 
however the Swedish horses, wearied first, began to go more 
slowly, and the slaughter became still more bloody. 

Some of the Swedes sprang from their beasts and van- 
ished in the forest ; but only a few did so, for the Swedes 
knew from exi)erience that peasants were watching in the 
forest, and they preferred to die from sabres rather than 
from terrible tortures, of which the infuriated people were 
not sparing. Some asked quarter, but for the most part in 
vain ; for each Pole chose to slay an enemy, and chase on 
rather than take him prisoner, guard him, and leave further 

They cut then without mercy, so that no one might re- 
turn with news of the defeat. Volodyovski was in the van 
of pursuit with the Lauda squadron. He was that horse- 
man wlio had appeared first to the Swedes as a decoy ; he 
had struck first, and now, sitting on a horse which was as 
if impelled by a whirlwind, he enjoyed himself with his 
whole soul, wishing to be sated with blood, and avenge the 
defeat of Golamb. Every little while he overtook a horse- 
man, and when he had overtaken him he quenched him as 
quickly as he would a eandle ; sometimes he came on the 
shoulders of two, three, or four, but soon, only in a moment, 
that same number of horses ran riderless before him. 
More than one hapless Swede caught his own rapier by the 
point, and turning the hilt to the knight for quarter im- 
plored with voice and with eyes. Volodyovski did not 
stop, but thrusting his sabre into the man where the neck 
joins the breast, he gave him a light, small push, and the 
man dropped his hands, gave forth one and a second word 
with pale lips, then sank in the darkness of death. 

Volodyovski, not looking around, rushed on and pushed 
new victims to the earth. 

The valiant Sweno took note of this terrible harvester, and 
summoning a few of the best horsemen he determined with 
the sacrifice of his own life to restrain even a little of the 
])ursuit in order to save others. They turned therefore 
their horses, and pointing their rapiers waited with the 
points toward the pursuers. Volodyovski, seeing this, hesi- 
tated not a moment, spurred on his horse, and fell into the 
midst of them. 

And before any one could have winked, two helmets had 


fallen. More than ten rapiers were directed at once to the 
single breast of Volodyovski ; but at that instant rushed in 
Pan Yan and Pan Stanislav, Yuzva Butrym, Zagloba and 
Roh Kovalski, of whom Zagloba related, that even when go- 
ing to the attack he had his eyes closed in sleep, and woke 
only when his breast struck the breast of an enemy. 

Volodyovski put himself under the saddle so quickly that 
the rapiers passed through empty air. He learned this 
method from the Tartars of Bailgorod ; but being small and 
at the same time adroit beyond liuman belief, he brought it 
to such perfection that he vanished from the eye when he 
wished, either behind the shoulder or under the belly of 
the horse. So he vanished this time, and before the as- 
tonished Swedes could understand what had become of him 
he was erect on the saddle again, terrible as a wild-cat which 
springs down from lofty branches among frightened dogs. 

Meanwhile his comrades gave him aid, and bore around 
death and confusion. One of the Swedes held a pistol to 
the very breast of Zagloba. Roh Kovalski, having that 
enemy on his left side, was unable to strike him with a 
sabre; but he balled his fist, struck the Swede^s head in 
passing, and that man dropped imder the horse as if a 
thunderbolt had met him, and Zagloba, giving forth a shout 
of delight, slashed in the temple Sweno himself, who 
dropped his hands and fell with his forehead to the horse's 
shoulder. At sight of this the other Swedes scattered. 
Volodyovski, Yuzva Footless,* Pan Yan, and Pan Stanislav 
followed and eut them down before they had gone a 
hundred yards. 

And the pursuit lasted longer. The Swedish horses had 
less and less breath in their bodies, and ran more and more 
slowly. At last from a thousand of the best horsemen, 
which had gone out under Kanneberg, there remained 
barely a hundred and some tens ; the rest had fallen in a 
long belt over the forest road. And this last group was 
decreasing, for Polish hands ceased not to toil over them. 

At last they came out of the forest. The towers of 
Yaroslav were outlined clearly in the azure sky. Now hope 
entered the hearts of the fleeing, for they knew that in 
Yaroslav was the king with all his forces, and at any 
moment he might come to their aid. They had forgotten 
that immediately after their passage the top had been taken 
from the last square of the bridge, so as to put stronger 
planks for the passage of cannon. 

VOL. II. — 23 


Whether Charnyetski knew of this through his spies, or 
wished to show himself of purpose to the Swedish king and 
cut down before his eyes the last of those unfortunate men, 
it is enough that not only did he not restrain the pursuit, 
but he sprang forward himself with the Shemberk squad- 
ron, slashed, cut with his own hand, pursuing the crowd in 
such fashion as if he wished with that same speed to strike 

At last they ran to within a furlong of the bridge ; shouts 
from the lield came to the Swedish camp. A multitude of 
soldiers and officers ran out from the town to see what was 
taking place beyond the river; they had barely looked 
when they saw and recognized the horsemen who had gone 
out of camp in the morning. 

" Kanneberg's detachment ! Kanneberg's detachment ! " 
cried thousands of voices. 

" Almost cut to pieces ! Scarcely a hundred men are 
running I " 

At that moment the king himself galloped up ; with him 
Wittemberg, Forgell, Miller, and other generals. 

The king grew pale. " Kanneberg ! " said he. 

" By Christ and his wounds ! the bridge is not finished,'* 
cried Wittemberg ; " the enemy will cut them down to the 
last man." 

The king looked at the river, which had risen with spring 
waters, roaring with its yellow waves ; to give aid by 
swimming was not to be thought of. 

The few men still left were coming nearer. 

Now there was a new cry : " The king's train and the 
guard are coming ! They too will perish ! " 

In fact, it had happened that a part of the king's pro- 
vision-chests with a hundred men of the infantry guard 
had come out at tliat moment b}^ another road from adjoin- 
ing forests. When they saw what had hai)pened, the men 
of the escort, in the conviction that the bridge was ready, 
hastened with all speed toward the town. 

But thev were seen from the field bv the I'oles. Immedi- 
ately about three hundred horsemen rushed toward them 
at full speed ; in front of all, with sabre above his head and 
lire in his eyes, flew the tenant of Vansosh, Jendzian. Not 
many proofs had he given hitherto of his bravery ; but at 
sight of the wagons in which there might be rich plunder, 
daring so rose in his heart that he went some tens of yards 
in advance of the others. The infantry at tlie wagons, 
seeing that they could not escape, formed themselves into 


a quadrangle, and a hundred muskets were directed at once 
at the breast of Jendzian. A roar shook the air, a line of 
smoke flew along the wall of the quadrangle ; but before the 
smoke had cleared away the rider had urged on his horse so 
that the forefeet of the beast were above the heads of the 
men, and the lord tenant fell into the midst of them like a 

An avalanche of horsemen rushed after him. And as 
wlien wolves overcome a horse, and ho, lying yet on his 
back, defends himself desperately with his hoofs, and they 
cover him completely and tear from him lumps of living 
flesh, so those wagons and the infantry were covered com- 
pletely with a whirling mass of horses and riders. But 
terrible shouts rose from that whirl, and reached the ears 
of the Swedes standing on the other bank. 

Meanwhile still nearer the bank the Poles were finishing 
the remnant of Kanneberg's cavalry. The whole Swedish 
army had come out like one man to the lofty bank of the 
San. Infantry, cavalry, artillery were mingled together ; 
and all looked as if in an ancient circus in Rome at the 
spectacle ; but they looked with set lips, with despair in 
tlieir hearts, with terror and a feeling of helplessness. At 
moments from the breasts of those unwilling spectators 
was wrested a terrible cry. At moments a general weeping 
was heard ; then again silence, and only the panting of the 
excited soldiers was audible. For that thousand men 
whom Kanneberg had led out were the front and the pride 
of the whole Swedish army; they were veterans, covered with 
glory in God knows how many lands, and God knows how many 
battles. But now they are running, like a lost flock of sheep, 
over the broad fields in front of the Swedish army, dying 
like sheep under the knife of the butcher. For that was no 
longer a battle, but a hunt. The terrible Polish horsemen 
circled about, like a storm, over the field of struggle, crying 
in various voices and running ahead of the Swedes. Some- 
times a number less than ten, sometimes a group more than 
ten fell on one man. Sometimes one met one, sometimes 
the hunted Swede bowed down on the saddle as if to lighten 
tlie blow for the enemy, sometimes he withstood the brunt; 
but oftener he perished, for with edged weapons the Swe- 
dish soldiers were not equal to Polish nobles trained in all 
kinds of fencing. 

But among the Poles the little knight was the most terri- 
ble of all, sitting on his cream-colored steed, which was as 


nimble and cOs swift as a falcon. The whole arroy noted 
him ; for whomsoever he pursued he killed, whoever met him 
perished it was unknown how and when, with such small 
and insignificant movements of his sword did he hurl the 
sturdiest horsemen to the earth. At last he saw Kanne- 
berg himself, whom more than ten men were chasing ; the 
little knight sliouted at them, stopped the pursuit by com- 
mand, and attacked the Swede himself. 

The Swedes on the other bank held the breath in their 
breasts. The king liad ])ushed to the edge of the river and 
looked with throbbing heart, moved at once with alarm and 
hope ; for Kanneberg, as a great lord and a relative of the 
king, was trained from childhood in every species of sword 
exercise by Italian masters ; in fighting with edged weapons 
he had not his equal in the Swedish army. All eyes there- 
fore were fixed on him now, barely did they dare to breathe ; 
but he, seeing that the pursuit of the crowd had ceased, and 
wishing after the loss of his troops to save his own glory in 
the eyes of the king, said to his gloomy soul, — 

"Woe to me if having first lost my men, I do not seal 
with my own blood the shame, or if I do not purchase my 
life by having overturned this terrible man. In another 
event, though the hand of God might bear me to that bank, 
I should not dare to look in the eyes of any Swede." When 
he had said this he turned his horse and rushed toward the 
yellow knight. 

Since those Poles who had cut him off from the river 
had withdrawn, Kanneberg had the liope that if he should 
finish his opponent, he might spring into the water, and 
then what would be would be ; if he could not swim the 
stormy stream, its current would bear him far with the 
horse, and his brothers would provide him some rescue. 

He sprang therefore like a thunderbolt at the little 
knight, and the little knight at him. The Swede wished 
during the rush to thrust the rapier up to the hilt under 
the arm of his opponent ; but he learned in an instant that 
though a master himself he must meet a master as well, for 
his sword merely slipped along the edge of the Polish sabre, 
only quivered somehow wonderfully in his hand, as if his 
arm had suddenly grown numb ; barely was he able to 
defend himself from the blow which the knight then gave 
him ; luckily at that moment their horses bore them away 
in opposite directions. 

Both wheeled in a circle and returned simultaneously; 


but they rode now more slowly against each other, wishing 
to have more time for the meeting and even to cross weap- 
ons repeatedly. Kanneberg withdrew into himself so that 
he became like a bird which presents to view only a power- 
ful beak from the midst of upraised feathers. He knew 
one infallible thrust in whicli a certain Florentine had 
trained him, — infallible because deceitful and almost impos- 
sible to be warded off, — consisting in this : that the point of 
the sword was directed apparently at the breast, but by 
avoiding obstacles at the side it passed through the throat 
till the hilt reached the back of the neck. This thrust 
he determined to make now. 

And, sure of himself, he approached, restraining his horse 
more and more; but Volodyovski rode toward him with 
short springs. For a moment he thought to disappear sud- 
denly under the horse like a Tartar, but since he had to 
meet with only one man, and that before the eyes of both ar- 
mies, though he understood that some unexpected thrust was 
waiting for him, he was ashamed to defend himself in Tar- 
tar and not in knightly fashion. 

" He wishes to take me as a heron does a falcon with a 
thrust," thought Pan Michael to himself; "but I will use 
that windmill which I invented in Lubni." 

And this idea seemed to him best for the moment; 
therefore it surrounded him like a glittering shield of 
light, and he struck his steed with his spurs and rushed on 

Kanneberg drew himself in still more, and almost grew to 
the horse ; in the twinkle of an eye the rapier caught the 
sabre, and quickly he stuck out his head like a snaJce and 
made a ghastly thrust. 

But in tliat instant a terrible whirling began to sound, 
the rapier turned in the hands of the Swede; the point 
struck empty space, but the curved end of the sabre fell 
with the speed of lightning on the face of Kanneberg, cut 
through a part of his nose, his mouth and beard, struck his 
shoulder-blade, shattered that, and stopped only at the 
sword-belt which crossed his shoulder. 

The rajner dropped from the hands of the unfortunate 
man, and night embraced his head ; but before he fell from 
his horse, Volodyovski dropped his own weapon and seized 
him by the shoulder. 

The Swedes from the other bank roared with one out- 
burst, but Zagloba sprang to the little knight. 


" Pan Michael, I knew it would be so, but I was ready to 
avenge you ! " 

" He was a master," answered Volodyovski. " You take 
the horse, for he is a good one." 

" Ha ! if it were not for the river we could rush over and 
frolic with those fellows. I would be the first — " 

The whistle of balls interrupted further words of Zagloba; 
therefore he did not finish the expression of his thoughts, 
but cried, — 

" Let us go, Pan Michael ; those traitors are ready to 

" Their bullets have no force, for the range is too great." 

Meanwhile other Polish horsemen came up congratulating 
Volodyovski and looking at him with admiration ; but he 
only moved his mustaches, for he was a cause of gladness 
to himself as well as to them. 

But on the other bank among the Swedes, it was seething 
as in a beehive. Artillerists on that side drew out their 
(?annons in haste ; and in the nearer Polish ranks trumpets 
were sounded for withdrawal. At this sound each man 
sprang to his squadron, and in a moment all were in order. 
They withdrew then to the forest, and halted again, as if 
offering a place to the enemy and inviting them across the 
river. At last, in front of the ranks of men and horses, 
rode out on his dapple gray the man wearing a burka and a 
cap with a heron's feather, and bearing a gilded baton in 
his hand. 

He was perfectly visible, for the reddish rays of the set- 
ting sun fell on him, and besides he rode before the regi- 
ments as if reviewing them. All the Swedes knew him at 
once, and began to shout, — 

*' C/harnyetski I Charnyetski ! " 

He said something to the colonels. It was seen how he 
stopped longer with the knight who had slain Kanneberg, 
and placed his hand on his shoulder; then he raised his 
baton, and the squadrons began to turn slowly one after 
another to the pine-woods. 

Just then the sun went down. In Yaroslav the bells 
sounded in the church ; then all the regiments began to 
sing in one voice as they were riding away, "The Angel of 
the Lord announced to the Most Holy Virgin Mary ; " and 
with that song they vanished from the eyes of the Swedes. 



That evening the Swedes lay down to sleep without put- 
ting food into their mouths, and without hope that tiiey 
would have anything to strengthen themselves with on the 
morrow. They were not able to sleep from the torment of 
hunger. Before the second cock-crow the suffering soldiers 
began to slip out of the camp singly and in crowds to plunder 
villages adjoining Yaroslav. They went like night-thieves to 
Kadzymno, to Kanchuya, to Tychyno, where they hoped to 
find food of some kind. Theii* confidence was increased 
by the fact that Charnyetski was on the other side of the 
river ; but even had he been able to cross, they preferred 
death to hunger r. There was evidently a great relaxation 
in the camp, for despite the strictest orders of the king 
about fifteen hundred men went out in this way. 

They fell to ravaging the neighborhood, burning, plunder- 
ing, killing; but scarcely a man of them was to return. 
Charnyetski was on the other side of the San, it is true, 
but on the left bank were various " parties " of nobles and 
peasants ; of these the strongest, that of Stjalkovski, formed 
of daring nobles of the mountains, had come that very night 
to Prohnik, as if led by the evil fate of the Swedes. When 
he saw the fire and heard the shots, Stjalkovski went 
straiglit to the uproar and fell upon the plunderers. They 
defended themselves fiercely behind fences ; but Stjalkovski 
broke them up, cut them to pieces, spared no man. In 
other villages other parties did work of the same kind. 
Fugitives were followed to the very camp, and the pursuers 
s])read alarm and confusion, shouting in Tartar, in Walla- 
ohian, in Hungarian, and in Polish ; so that the Swedes 
thought that some powerful auxiliary of the Poles was at- 
tacking them, maybe the Khan with the whole horde. 

Confusion began, and — a thing without example hitherto 
— panic, which the oflBicers put down with the greatest ef- 
fort. The king, who remained on horseback till daylight, 
saw what was taking place; he understood what might 
come of that, and called a council of war at once in the 


That gloomy council did not last long, for there were 
not two roads to choose from. Courage had fallen in the 
army, the soldiers had nothing to eat, the enemy had grown 
in power. 

The Swedish Alexander, who had promised the whole 
world tt pursue the Polish Darius even to the steppes of 
the Tartars, was forced to think no longer of pursuit, but 
of his own safety. 

" We can return by the San to Sandomir, thence by the 
Vistula to Warsaw and to Prussia," said Wittemberg ; " in 
that way we shall escape destruction." 

Douglas seized his own head : ** So many victories, so 
many toils, such a great country conquered, and we must 

To which Wittemberg said : " Has your worthiness any 
advice ? " 

" I have not," answered Douglas. 

The king, who had said nothing liitherto, rose, as a sign 
that the session was ended, and said, 

" I command the retreat ! " 

Not a word further was heard from his mouth that day. 

Drums began to rattle, and trumpets to sound. News 
that the retreat was ordered ran in a moment from one end 
of the camp to the other. It was received with shouts of 
delight. Fortresses and castles were still in the hands of 
the Swedes; and in them rest, food, and safety were 

The generals and soldiers betook themselves so zealously 
to preparing for retreat that that zeal, as Douglas remarked, 
bordered on disgrace. 

The king sent Douglas with the vanguard to repair the 
difficult crossings and clear the forests. Soon after him 
moved the whole army in order of battle ; the front was 
covered by artillery, the roar by wagons, at the flanks 
marched infantry. Military supplies and tents sailed down 
the river on boats. 

All these precautions were not superfluous ; barely had 
the march begun, when the rearguard of the Swedes saw 
Polish cavalry behind, and thenceforth they lost it almost 
never from sight. Charnyetski assembled his own squad- 
rons, collected all the " parties " of that region, sent to Yan 
Kazimir for reinforcements, and pursued. The first stoi)- 
ping-place, Pjevorsk, was at the same time the first place 
of alarm. The Polish divisions pushed up so closely that 


several thousand infantry with artillery had to turn against 
them. For a time the king himself thought that Charny- 
etski was really attacking ; but according to his wont he only 
sent detachment after detachment. These attacked with an 
uproar and retreated immediately. All the night passed in 
these encounters, — a troublesome and sleepless night for 
the Swedes. 

The whole march, all the following nights and days 
were to be like this one. 

Meanwhile Yan KLazimir sent two squadrons of very well 
trained cavalry, and with them a letter stating that the het- 
mans would soon march with cavalry, and that he himself 
with the rest of the infantry and with the horde would 
hasten after them. In fact, he was detained only by 
negotiations with the Khan, with Rakotsy, and with the 
court of Vienna. Charnyetski was rejoiced beyond meas- 
ure by this news ; and when the day after the Swedes ad- 
vanced in the wedge between the Vistula and the San, he 
said to Colonel Polyanovski, — 

" The net is si)read, the fish are going in." 

** And we will do like that fi.<iherman," said Zagloba, " who 
played on the flute to the fish so that they might dance, and 
when they would not, he pulled them on shore ; then they 
began to jump around, and he fell to striking them with a 
stick, crying: 'Oh, such daughters! you ought to have 
danced when I begged you to do so.' " 

" They will dance," answered Charnyetski ; " only let the 
marshal. Pan Lyubomirski, come with his army, which 
luimbers five thousand." 

** He may come any time," remarked Volodyovski. 

" Some nobles from the foot-hills arrived to-day," said Za- 
globa; 'Hhey say that he is marching in haste ; but whether 
he will join us instead of fighting on his own account is 
another thing." 

" How is that ? " asked Charnyetski, glancing quickly at 

" He is a man of uncommon ambition and envious of glory. 
T have known him many years ; I was his confidant and 
made his acquaintance when he was still a lad, at the court 
of Pan Krakovski. He was learning fencing at that time 
from Frenchmen and Italians. He fell into terrible anger 
one day when I told him that they were fools, not one of 
whom could stand before me. We had a duel, and I laid 
out seven of them one following the other. After that 


Lyubomirski learned from me, not only fencing, but the 
military art. By nature his wit is a little dull ; but what- 
ever he knows he knows from me." 

" Are you then such a master of the sword ? '' asked 

" As a specimen of my teaching, take Pan Volodyovski ; 
he is my second pupil. From that man T have real comfort.'' 

" True, it was you who killed Sweno.'* 

** Sweno ? If some one of you, gentlemen, had done that 
deed, he would have had sometliing to talk about all his 
life, and besides would invite his neighbors often to dinner 
to repeat the story at wine ; but I do not mind it, for if I 
wished to take in all I have done, I could pave the road 
from this place to Sandomir with such Swenos. Could I 
not ? Tell me, any of you who know me." 

" Uncle could do it," said Koh Kovalski. 

Cliarnyetski did not hear the continuation of this dia- 
logue, for he had fallen to thinking deeply over Zagloba's 
words. He too knew of Lyubomirski's ambition, and 
doubted not that the marshal would either impose his own 
will on him, or would act on his own account, even though 
that should bring harm to the Commonwealth. Therefore 
his stern face became gloomy, and he began to twist his 

*^ Oho ! " whispered Zagloba to Pan Yan, " Cliarnyetski 
is chewing something bitter, for his face is like the face of 
an eagle ; he will snap up somelx)dy soon." 

Then Cliarnyetski said: "Some one of you, gentlemen, 
should go with a letter from me to Lyubomirski." 

" I am known to him, and I will go," said Pan Yan. 

" That is well," answered Cliarnyetski ; " the more noted 
the messenger, the better." 

Zagloba turned to Volodyovski and whispered : " He is 
speaking now through the nose ; that is a sign of great 

In fact, Charnyetski had a silver j)alate, for a musket-ball 
had carried away his own years before at Busha. Therefore 
whenever he was roused, angry, and unquiet, he always be- 
gan to speak with a sharp and clinking voice. Suddenly he 
turned to Zagloba : " And perhaps you would go with Pan 
Skshetuski ? " 

" Willingly," answered Zagloba. " If I cannot do any- 
thing, no man can. Besides, to a man of such great birth it 
will be more proper to send two," 


Charnyetski compressed his lips, twisted his beard, and 
repeated as if to himself : " Great birth, great birth — " 

"No one can deprive Lyubomirski of that," remarked 

Charnyetski frowned. 

" The Commonwealth alone is great, and in comparison 
with it no family is great, all of them are small ; and I 
would the earth swallowed those who make mention of their 

All were silent, for he had spoken with much vehemence ; 
and only after some time did Zagloba say, — 

" In comparison with the whole Commonwealth, certainly." 

" I did not grow up out of salt, nor out of the soil, but out 
of that which pains me," said Charnyetski ; " and the Cos- 
sacks who shot this lip through pained me, and now the 
Swedes pain me ; and either I shall cut away this sore with 
the sabre, or die of it myself, so help me God ! " 

" And we will help you with our blood ! " said Polyanovski. 

Charnyetski ruminated some time yet over the bitterness 
which rose in his heart, over the thought that the marshal's 
ambition might hinder him in saving the country ; at last 
he grew calm and said, — 

" Now it is necessary to write a letter. I ask you, gentle- 
men, to come with me." 

Pan Yan and Zagloba followed him, and half an hour later 
they were on horseback and riding back toward Radymno ; 
for there was news that the marshal had halted there with 
his army. 

" Yan," said Zagloba, feeling of the bag in which he car- 
ried Charnyetski^s letter, " do me a favor ; let me be the only 
one to talk to the marshal." 

" But, father, have you really known him, and taught him 
fencing ? " 

" Hei ! that came out of itself, so that the breath should 
not grow hot in my mouth, and my tongue become soft, which 
might easily ha})])on from too long silence. I neither knew 
liim nor taught him. Just as if I had nothing better to do 
than be a bear-keeper, and teach the marshal how to walk on 
hind legs ! But that is all one ; I have learned him through 
and through from what people tell of him, and I shall be able 
to bend him as a cook bends pastry. Only one thing I beg 
of you : do not say that we have a letter from Charnyetski, 
and make no mention of it till I give the letter myself." 

" How is that ? Should I not do the work for which I 


was s6nt ? In my life such a thing has not happened, and 
it will not happen ! Even if Charnyetski should forgive 
me, I would not do that for ready treasure." 

** Then I will draw my sabre and hamstring your horse so 
that you cannot follow me. Have you ever seen anything 
miscarry that I invented with my own head? Tell me, 
have you ever come into evil plight yourself with Zagloba's 
stratagems ? Did Pan Michael come out badly, or your 
Helena, or any of you, when I freed you all from Radzivill's 
hands ? I tell you that more harm thau good may come of 
that letter ; for Charnyetski wrote it in such agitation that 
he broke three pens. Finally, you can speak of it when my 
plans fail. I promise to give it then, but not before." 

" If I can only deliver the letter, it is all one when." 

" I ask for no more. Now on, for there is a terrible road 
before us." 

They urged the horses, and went at a gallop. But they 
did not need to ride long, for the marshal's vanguard had 
not only passed Radymno, but Yaroslav ; and Lyubomirski 
himself was at Yaroslav, and occupied the former quarters of 
the King of Sweden. 

They found liim at dinner, with the most important offi- 
cers. But when the envoys were announced, Lyubomirski 
gave orders to receive them at once ; for he knew the 
names, since they were mentioned at that time in the whole 

All eyes were turned on the envoys as they entered ; the 
officers looked with especial admiration and curiosity at Pan 
Yan. When the marshal had greeted them courteously, he 
asked at once, — 

" Have I that famous knight before me who brought the 
letters from besieged Zbaraj to the king ? " 

" I crept through," said Pan Yan. 

" God grant me as many such officers as possible ! I envy 
Pan Charnyetski nothing so much ; as to the rest, I know 
that even my small services will not perish from the memory 
of men." 

"And I am Zagloba," said the old knight, pushing him 
self forward. 

Here he passed his eye around the assembly; and the 
marshal, as he wished to attract every one to himself, 
exclaimed, — 

" Who does not know of the man who slew Burlai, the 
leader of the barbarians ; of the man who raised BadzivilPs 
army in rebellion — " 


"And I led Sapyeha's army, who, if the truth is told, 
chose me, not him for leader," added Zagloba. 

" And why did you wish, being able to have such a high 
office, to leave it and serve under Pan Charnyetski ? " 

Here Zagloba's eye gleamed at Skshetuski, and he 
said : " Serene great mighty marshal, from your worthi- 
ness I as well as the whole country take example how 
,to resign ambition and self-interest for the good of the 

Lyubomirski blushed from satisfaction, and Zagloba, put- 
ting his hands on his hips, continued, — 

" Pan Charnyetski has sent us to bow to your worthiness 
in his name and that of the whole army, and at the same 
time to inform you of the considerable victor}' which God 
has permitted us to gain over Kanneberg." 

"I have heard of it already," said the marshal, dryly 
enough, in whom envy had now begun to move, " but gladly 
do I hear it again from an eyewitness." 

Zagloba began at once to relate, but with certain changes, 
for the forces of Kanneberg grew in his mouth to two thou- 
sand men. He did not forget either to mention Sweno or 
liimself, and how before the eyes of the king the remnant 
of the cavalry were cut to pieces near the river ; how the 
wagons and three hundred men of the guards fell into the 
hands of the fortunate conquerors ; in a word, the victory 
increased in his narrative to the dimensions of an unspeak- 
able misfortune for the Swedes. 

All listened with attention, and so did the marshal; but 
he grew gloomier and gloomier, his face was chilled as if by 
ice, and at last he said, — 

'^ I do not deny that Charnyetski is a celebrated warrior, 
but still he cannot devour all the Swedes himself ; something 
will remain for others to gulp." 

"Serene great mighty lord," answered Zagloba, "it is 
not Pan Charnyetski who gained the victory." 

" But who ? " 

" But Lyubomirski ! " 

A moment of universal astonishment followed. The mar- 
shal opened his mouth, began to wink, and looked at Zagloba 
with such an astonished gaze, as if he wished to ask : " Is 
there not a stave lacking in your barrel ? " 

Zagloba did not let himself be beaten from the track, but 
pouting his lips with great importance (he borrowed this 
gesture from Zamoyski), said, — 

"' I heard Charnyetski say before the whole army : * It is 


not our sabres that slay them ; 't is the name of Lyubomirski 
that cuts them down. Since they have heard that he is right 
here marching on, their courage has so gone out of them that 
they see in every one of our soldiers the army of the marshal, 
and they put their heads under the knife like sheep.' " 
- If all the rays of the sun had fallen at once on the face of 
the marslial, that face could ]iot have been more radiant. 

" How is that ? " asked he ; " did Chamyetski himself sa}' 
that ? » 

" He did, and many other things ; but I do not know that 
■ t is proper for me to repeat them, for he told them only to 

" Tell ! Every word of Pan Charnyetski deserves to be 
repeated a hundred times. He is an uncommon man, and I 
said so long ago." 

Zagloba looked at the marshal, half closing his one eye, 
and muttered : " You have swallowed the hook ; I '11 land you 
this minute." 

" What do you say ? " asked the marshal. 

" I say that the army cheered your worthiness in such 
fashion that they could not have cheered the king better; 
and in l^jevorsk, where we fought all night with the 
Swedes, wherever a squadron sprang out the men cried: 
* Lyubomirski ! Lyubomirski ! ' and that had a better effect 
than * Allah!' and *Slav, kill I' There is a witness here 
too, — Pan Skslietnski, no common soldier, and a man who 
has never told a lie in his life." 

The marshal looked involuntarily at Pan Yan, who 
blushed to his ears, and muttered something through his 
nose. Meanwhile the officers of the marshal l)egan to 
praise the envoys aloud, — 

"See, Pan Charnyetski has acted courteously, sending 
such polished cavaliers ; both are famous knights, and 
honey simply flows from the mouth of one of them." 

" I have always understood that Pun Charnyetski was a 
well-wisher of mine, but now there is nothing that I would 
not do for liim," cried the marshal, whose eyes were veiled 
with a mist from delight. 

At this Zagloba broke into enthusiasm : " Serene great 
mighty lord, who would not render homage to you, who 
would not honor you, the model of all civic virtues, who 
recall Aristides in justice, the Scipios in bravery ! I have 
read many books in my time, have seen much, have medi- 
tated much, and my soul has been rent from pain ; for what 


have T seen in this Commonwealth ? The Opalinskis, the 
Radzeyovskis, the Radzivills, who by their personal pride, 
setting their own ambition above all things, were ready at 
every moment to desert the country for their own private 
gain. I thought further, this Commonwealth is lost through 
the viciousness of its own sons. But who has comforted 
me, who has consoled me in my suffering ? Pan Charny- 
etski, for he said : ' The Commonwealth has not perished, 
since Lyubomirski has risen up in it. These others,' said 
he, nliink of themselves alone; he is only looking, only 
seeking how to make an offering of his own interests on 
the common altar. These are pushing themselves forward ; 
he is pushing himself back, for he wants to illustrate by 
his example. Xow,' said he, * he is marching with a 
powerful conquering army, and I have heard,' said he, 
* that he wishes to give me the command over it, in order 
to teach others how they should sacrifice their ambition, 
though even just, for the country. Go, then,' said he, * to 
Pan Lyubomirski, declare to him that I do hot want the 
sacrifice, I do not desire it, since he is a better leader 
than 1 am ; since, moreover, not only as leader, but — God 
grant our Kazimir a long life! — as king are we ready to 
choose him, and — we will choose him !' " 

Here Zagloba was somewhat frightened lest he had 
passed the measure, and really .after the exclamation, 
" We will choose him ! " followed silence ; but before the 
magnate heaven opened ; he grew somewhat pale at first, 
then red, then pale again, and laboring heavily with his 
breast, said, after the silence of a moment, — 

" The Commonwealth is and will ever remain in control 
of its own will, for on that ancient foundation do our liber- 
lies rest. Bat I am only a servant of its servants, and God 
IS my witness that I do not raise my eyes to those heights 
at which a citizen should not gaze. As to command over 
the army. Pan Charnyetski must accept it. I demand it 
especially for this, to give an example to those who, having 
continually the greatness of their family in mind, are un- 
willing to recognize any authority whenever it is necessary 
to forget the greatness of their family for the good of the 
(•ountry. Therefore, though perhaps I am not such a bad 
leader, still I, Lyubomirski, enter willingly under the com- 
niiind of Charnyetski, praying to God only to send us vic- 
tory over the enemy ! " 

•^ Roman ! Father of the country ! " exclaimed Zagloba, 
seizing the marshal's hand and pressing it to his lips. 


But at the same moment the old rogue turned his eye on 
Pan Yan, and began to wink time after time. 

Thundering shouts were heard from the officers. The 
throng in the quarters increased with each moment. 

" Wine ! " cried the marshal. 

And when they brought in goblets he raised at once 
a toast to the king, then to Charnyetski, whom he called 
his leader, and finally to the envoys. Zagloba did not re- 
main behind with the toasts, and he so caught the hearts 
of all that the marshal himself conducted them to the 
threshold, and the knights to the gates of Yaroslav. 

At last Pan Yan and Zagloba were alone ; then Zagloba 
stopped the road in front of Pan Yan, reined in his horse, 
and putting his hands on his hips, said, — 

" Well, Yan, what do you think ? " 

" God knows," answered Pan Yan, " that if I had not 
seen it with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears, I 
would not believe, even if an angel had told me." 

" Ha ! do you know ? I will swear to you that Charnv- 
etski himself at the most asked and begged Lyubomirski 
to go in company with him. And do you know what 
he would have done ? Lyubomirski would have gone 
alone ; for if Charnyetski has adjured in the letter by the 
love of country, or if he meutioned private interests, and I 
am sure that he has, the marshal would have been offended 
at once, and would have said : ' Does he want to be my pre- 
ceptor, and teach me how to serve the country ? ' I know 
those men ! Happily old Zagloba took the matter in hand, 
and hardly had he opened his mouth when Lyubomirski 
not only wanted to go with Charnyetski, but to go under 
his command. Charnyetski is killing himself with anxiety, 
but I will comfort him. Well, Yan, does Zagloba know 
how to manage the magnates ? " 

" I tell you that I am not able t^ let the breath go from 
my lips from astonishment." 

" I know them ! Show one of them a crown and a corner 
of the ermine robe, and you may rub him against the grain 
like a hound pup, and besides, he will lx»nd up to you and 
present his back himself. No cat will so lick his chops, 
even if you hold before him a dinner of pure cheese. The 
eyes of the most honest of them will be bursting out from 
desire ; and if a scoundrel happens, such as the voevoda of 
Vilna, he is ready to betray the country. Oh, the vanity of 
man ! Lord Jesus ! if Thou hadst given me as many thou- 
sands of ducats as Thou hast created candidates for this 


crown, I should be a candidate myself. For if any of them 
imagines that I hold myself inferior to him, then may his 
stomach burst from his own pride. Zagloba is as good as 
Lyubomirski ; in fortune alone is the difference. This is 
true, Yan. Do you think that 1 really kissed him on the 
hand ? I kissed my own thumb, and shoved his hand up 
to my nose. Certain it is that since he is alive no one has 
so fooled him. I have spread him like butter on toast for 
Charnyetski. God grant our king as long a life as possible ; 
but in case of election, I would rather give a vote to myself 
than to Lyubomirski. Roh Kovalski would give me an- 
other, and Pan Michael would strike down my opponents. 
As God lives ! I would make you grand hetman of the 
kingdom straightway, and Pan Michael, after Sapyeha, 
grand hetman of Lithuania, — but Jendzian, treasurer. He 
would punish the Jews with taxes ! But enough; the main 
thing is that I have caught Lyubomirski on a hook and put 
the line in Charnyetski's hand. For whomsoever the flour, 
it will be ground on the Swedes ; and whose is the merit ? 
What do you think ? Should the chroniclers inscribe it to 
some one else ? But I have no luck. It will be well even if 
Charnyetski does not break out on the old man for not hav- 
ing given the letter. Such is human gratitude. This is not 
my first, not my first — others are sitting in starostaships, 
and are grown around with fat, like badgers ; but do you, 
old man, shake your poor stomach on a horse as before." 

Here Zagloba waved his hand. " Human gratitude 
may go to the hangman ! And whether in this or that 
position you must die, still it is pleasant to serve the 
country. The best reward is good company. As soon as 
a man is on horseback, then, with such comrades as you 
and Michael, he is ready to ride to the end of the world, — 
such is our Polish nature. If a German, a Frenchman, an 
Englishman, or a dark Spaniard is on horseback, he is 
ready at once to gallop into your eyes ; but a Pole, having 
inborn patience, will endure much, and will permit even a 
Swedish fellow to pluck him ; but when the limit is passed 
and the Pole whacks him in the snout, such a Swede will 
cover himself three times with his legs. For there is metal 
yet in the Poles, and while the metal lasts the Common- 
wealth will last. Beat that into yourself, Yan." 

And so spoke Zagloba for a long time, for he was very 
glad; and whenever he was very glad he was talkative be- 
yond usual measure, and full of wise sentences. 

VOL. II. — 24 



Charnyetski, in truth, did not even dare to think that the 
marshal of the kingdom would put himself under his com- 
mand. He wished merely joint action, and he feared that 
even that would not be attained because of the great ambition 
of Lyubomirski ; for the proud magnate had mentioned 
more than once to his officers that he wished to attack the 
Swedes independently, for thus he could effect something ; 
but if he and Charnyetski won a victory together, the whole 
glory would flow to Charnyetski. 

Such was the case, in fact. Charnyetski understood the 
marshal's reasons, and was troubled. He was reading now, 
for the tenth time, the copy of the letter which he had sent 
from Pjevorsk, wishing to see if he had written anything 
to offend so irritable a man as Lyubomirski. 

He regretted certain phrases ; finally he began to regret, 
on the whole, that he had sent the letter. Therefore he 
was sitting gloomy in his quarters, and every little while he 
approached the window and looked out on the road to see 
if the envoys were not returning. The officers saw him 
through the window, and divined what was passing in his 
mind, for evident trouble was on his forehead. 

" But look," said Polyanovski to Pan Michael, " there 
will be nothing pleasant, for the castellan's face has become 
spotted, and that is a bad sign. 

Charnyetski's face bore numerous traces of small-pox, 
and in momonts of great emotion or disquiet it was covered 
with white and dark spots. As he had sharp features, a 
very high forehead and cloudy, Jupiter brows, a bent nose, 
and a glance cutting straight through, when in addition those 
spots appeared, he became terrible. The Cossacks in their 
time called him the spotted dog ; but in truth, he was more 
like a spotted eagle, and when he led men to the attack and 
his burica spread out like great wings, the likeness struck 
both his own men and the enemy. 

He roused fear in these and those. During the Cossack 
wars leaders of powerful bands lost their heads when forced 
to act against Charnyetski. TTmelnitski himself feared 
him, but especially the counsels which lie gave the king. 


They brought upon the Cossacks the terrible defeat of Qere- 
stechko. But his fame increased chiefly after Berestechko^ 
when, together with the Tartars, he passed over the steppes 
like a flame, crushed the uprisen crowds, took towns and 
trenches by storm, rushing with the speed of a whirlwind 
from one end of the Ukraine to the other. 

With this same raging endurance was he plucking the 
Swedes now. " Charnyetski does not knock out my men, 
he steals them away," said Karl Gustav. But Charnyetski 
was tired of stealing away ; he thought that the time had 
come to strike. But he lacked artillery and infantry alto- 
gether, without which nothing decisive could be done, 
nothing important effected; hence his eagerness for a 
junction with Lyubomirski, who had a small number of 
cannon, it is true, but brought with him infantry composed 
of mountaineers. These, though not over-much trained as 
yet, had still been under fire more than once, and might, for 
want of better, be used against the incomparable infantry 
legions of Karl Gustav. 

Charnyetski, therefore, was as if in a fever. Not being 
able to endure in the house, he went outside, and seeing 
Volodyovski and Polyanovski, he asked, — 

" Are the envoys not in sight ? " 

"It is clear that they are glad to see them," answered 

"They are glad to see them, but not glad to read my 
letter, or the marshal would have sent his answer." 

" Pan Castellan," said Polyanovski, whom Charnyetski 
trusted greatly, " why be careworn ? If the marshal comes, 
well ; if not, we will attack as of old. As it is, blood is flow- 
ing from the Swedish pot ; and we know that when a pot 
once begins to leak, everything will run out of it." 

" There is a leak in the Commonwealth too," said Charny- 
etski. " If the Swedes escape this time, they will be rein- 
forced, succor will come to them from Prussia, our chance 
will be lost." Then he struck his side with his hand in 
sign of impatience. Just then was heard the tread of horses 
and the bass voice of Zagloba singing, — 

** Kaska to the bakehouse went her way, 
And Stab said to her, * Take me in, let me in, 

My love. 
For the snow U falling, and the wind is blowing; 
Where shall I, poor fellow, pnt my head 

Till morning ? ' " 


" It is a good sign ! They are returning joyously," cried 

That moment the envoys, seeing Charnyetski, sprang 
from their saddles, gave their horses to an attendant, and 
went quickly to the entrance. Zagloba threw his cap 
suddenly into the air, and imitating the voice of the 
marshal so excellently that whoever was not looking on 
might be deceived, cried, — 

" Vivat Pan Charnyetski, our leader ! " 

The castellan frowned, and asked quickly : " Is there a 
letter for me ? " 

" There is not," answered Zagloba ; " there is something 
better. The marshal with his army passes voluntarily 
under command of your worthiness." 

Charnyetski pierced him with a look, then turned to Pan 
Yan, as if wishing to say : " Speak you, for this one has 
been drinking ! " 

Zagloba was in fact a little drunk ; but Skshetuski con- 
firmed his words, hence astonishment was reflected on the 
face of the castellan. 

" Come with me," said he to the two. " I beg you also," 
said he to Polyanovski and Pan Michael. 

All entered his room. They had not sat down yet when 
Charnyetski asked : ** What did he say to my letter ? " 

" He said nothing," answered Zagloba, "and why he did 
not will appear at the end of my story ; but now incipiam 
(I will begin)." 

Here he told all as it had happened, — how he had brought 
the marshal to such a favorable decision. Charnyetski 
looked at him with growing astonishment, Polyanovski 
seized his own head, Pan Michael's mustaches were 

" I have not known you hitherto, as God is dear to me ! " 
cried Charnyetski, at last. " I cannot believe my own ears." 

" They have long since called me Ulysses," said Zagloba, 

" Where is my letter ? " 

" Here it is." 

"I must forgive you for not delivering it. He is a 
finished rogue ! A vice-chancellor might learn from him 
how to make treaties. As God lives, if I were king, I 
would send you to Tsargrad." 

" If he were there, a hundred thousand Turks would be 
here now ! " cried Pan Michael. 


To which Zagloba said : " Not one, but two hundred 
thousand, as true as I live." 

" And did the marshal hesitate at nothing ? " asked 

" He ? He swallowed all that I put to his lips, just as a 
fat gander gulps pellets ; his eyes were covered with mist. 
I thought that from delight he would burst, as a Swedish 
bomb bursts. With flattery that man might be taken to 

" If it can only be ground out on the Swedes, if it can only 
be ground out, and I have hope that it will be," said Charny- 
etski, delighted. " You are a man adroit as a fox ; but do 
not make too much sport of the marshal, for another would 
not have done what he has to-day. Much depends on him. 
We shall march to Sandomir itself over the estates of the 
Lyubomirskis, and the marshal can raise with one word 
the whole region, command peasants to injure crossings, 
burn bridges, hide provisions in the forests. You have 
rendered a service which I shall not forget till death ; but 
I must thank the marshal, for as I believe he has not done 
this from mere vanity." 

Then he clapped his hands and cried : " A horse for me 
at once ! Let us forge the iron while it is hot ! " Then he 
turned to the colonels : " Come, all of you gentlemen, with 
me, so that the suite may be the most imposing." 

"And must I go too ? " asked Zagloba. 

"l^'ou have built the bridge between me and the marshal, 
it is proper that you be the first to pass over. Besides, I 
think that they will see you gladly. Come, come, lord 
brother, or I shall say that you wished to leaye a half- 
finished work." 

" Hard to refuse. I must draw my belt tighter, however, I shake into nothing. Not much strength is left me, 
unless I fortify it with something." 

" But with what ? " 

" Much has been told me of the castellan's mead which I 
have not tasted as yet, and I should like to know if it is 
better than the marshal's." 

" We will drink a stirrup cup now, but after our return 
we shall not limit the cups in advance. You will find a 
couple of decanters of it in your own quarters." 

Then the castellan commanded to bring goblets; they 
drank enough for brightness and good humor, mounted and 
rode away. 


The marshal received Chamyetski with open arms, enter- 
tained him with food and drink, did not let him go till 
morning ; but in the morning the two armies were joined, 
and marched farther under command of Chamyetski. 

Near Syenyava the Poles attacked the Swedes again with 
such effect that they cut the rearguard to pieces and 
brought disorder into the main army. Only at daybreak 
did the artillery disperse them. At Lejaysk, Chamyetski 
attacked with still greater vigor. Considerable detach- 
ments of the Swedes were mired in soft places, caused by 
rains and inundations, and those fell into the hands of the 
Poles. The roads became of the worst for the Swedes. Ex- 
hausted, hungry, and tortured by desire of sleep, the regi- 
ments barely marched. More and more soldiers stopped 
on the way. Some were found so terribly reduced that 
they no longer wished to eat or drink, they only begged for 
death. Others lay down and died on hillocks; some lost 
presence of mind, and looked with the greatest indiffer- 
ence on the approaching pursuers. Foreigners, who were 
counted frequently in the ranks of the Swedes, began to 
disappear from the camp and go over to Chamyetski. 
Only the unbroken spirit of Karl Gustav held the remnant 
of its dying strength in the whole army. 

For not only did an enemy follow the army ; various 
"parties" under unknown leaders and bands of peasants 
crossed its road continually. Those bodies, unformed and 
not very numerous, could not, it is true, strike it with of- 
fensive warfare, but they wearied it mortally. And wish- 
ing to instil into the Swedes the conviction that Tartars 
had already come with assistance, all the Polish troops gave 
forth the Tartar shout; therefore " Allah ! Allah ! " was heard 
night and day without a moment's cessation. The Swedish 
soldiers could not draw breath, could not put aside their 
armor for an instant. More than once a few men alarmed 
the whole camp. Horses fell by tens, and were eaten im- 
mediately; for the transport of provisions had become 
impossible. From time to time the Polish horsemen found 
Swedish corpses terribly disfigured ; here they recognized at 
once the hands of peasants. The greater part of the villages 
in the triangle between the San and the Vistula belonged to 
the marshal and his relatives ; therefore all the peasants in 
those parts rose up as one man, for the marshal, unsparing of 
his own fortune, had announced that whoever took up arms 
would be freed from subjection. Scarcely had this news 


gone the round of the region when the peasants put their 
scythes on staffs and began to bring Swedish heads into 
camp : they brought them in every day till Lyubomirski 
was forced to prohibit that custom as unchristian. Then 
they brought in gloves and boots. The Swedes, driven to 
desperation, flayed those who fell into tlieir hands ; and the 
war became more and more dreadful. Some of the Polish 
troops adhered yet to the Swedes, but they adhered only 
through fear. On the road to Lejaysk many of them de- 
serted ; those who remained made such tumults in the camp 
daily that Karl Gustav gave orders to shoot a number of 
officers. This was the signal for a general withdrawal^ 
which was effected sabre in hand. Few, if any, Poles re- 
mained ; but Chamyetski, gaining new strength, attacked 
with still greater vigor. 

The marshal gave most effectual assistance. During 
this period, which by the way was short, the nobler sides of 
Lyubomirski's nature gained, perhaps, the upper hand over 
his pride and self-love; therefore he omitted no toil, he 
spared neither his health nor his person, he led squadrons 
frequently, gave the enemy no rest ; and as he was a good 
soldier he rendered good services. These, added to his 
later ones, would have secured him a glorious memory in 
the nation, were it not for that shameless rebellion which 
toward the end of his career he raised in order to hinder 
the reform of the Commonwealth. 

But at this time he did everything to win glory, and he 
covered himself with it as with a robe. Pan Vitovski, the 
castellan of Sandomir, an old and experienced soldier, vied 
with him. Vitovski wished to equal Charnyetski himself; 
but he could not, for God had denied him greatness. 

All three crushed the Swedes more and more, and with 
such effect that the infantry and cavalry regiments, to 
whom it came to form the rearguard on the retreat, 
marched with so much fear that a panic arose among them 
from the slightest cause. Then Karl Gustav decided to 
march always with the rearguard, so as to give courage by 
his presence. 

But in the very beginning he almost paid for this position 
with liis life. It happened that having with him a detach- 
ment of the life-guards, — the largest of all the regiments, for 
the soldiers in it were selected from the whole Scandinavian 
people, — the king stopped for refreshment at the village of 
Rudnik. When he had dined with the parish priest he de- 


cided to sleep a little, since he had not closed his eyes the 
night preceding. The life-guards surrounded the house, to 
watch over the safety of the king. Meanwhile the priest's 
horse-boy stole away from the village, and coining up to a 
mare in the tield, sprang upon her colt and raced off to 

Charnyetski was ten miles distant at this time ; but his 
vanguard, composed of the regiment of Prince Dymitri 
Vishnyevetski, was marching under Shandarovski, the lieu- 
tenant, jibout two miles behind the Swedes. Shandarovski 
was just talking to Roh Kovalski, who had ridden up that 
moment with orders from Charnyetski, when suddenly both 
saw the lad flying toward them at all horse speed. 

" What devil is that racing up so," asked Shandarov- 
ski, " and besides on a colt ? " 

" Some village lad," said Kovalski. 

Meanwhile the boy had ridden to the front of the rank, 
and only stopped when the colt, frightened at horses and 
men, stood on his hind legs and dug his hoofs into the 
earth. The youth sprang off, and holding the colt by the 
mane, bowed to the knights. 

*^ Well, what have you to say ? " asked the lieutenant, 
approaching him. 

" The Swedes are with us at the priest's house ; they say 
that the king himself is among them ! " said the youth, with 
sparkling eyes. 

" Many of them ? " 

" Not more than two hundred horses." 

Shandarovski's eyes now flashed in their turn ; but he 
was afraid of an ambush, therefore he looked threateningly 
at the boy and asked, — 

" Who sent you ? " 

*^ Who was to send me ? I jumped myself on the colt, I 
came near falling, and lost my cap. It is well that the 
Swedish carrion did not see me ! " 

Truth was l>eating out of the sunburned face of the youth ; 
he had evidently a great animosity against the Swedes, 
— he was panting,' his cheeks wen* burning, he stood 
before the officers holding the mane of the colt with one 
hand, his hair disordered, the shirt open on his bosom. 

** Where is the rest of the Swedish army ? " asked the 

" At daybreak so many passed that we could not count 
them ; those went farther, only cavalry remained. l^ut 


there is one sleeping at the priest's, and they say that he is 
the king." 

" Hoy," answered Shandarovski, " if you are lying, your 
head will fall ; but if you speak the truth, ask what you 

" As true as 1 live ! I want nothing unless the great 
mighty lord officer would command to give me a sabre." 

" Give him some blade," cried Shandarovski to his atten- 
dants, completely convinced now. 

The other officers fell to inquiring of the boy where the 
house was, where the village, what the Swedes were doing. 

" The dogs ! they are watching. If you go straight they 
will see you ; but I will take you behind the alder grove." 

Orders were given at once, and the squadron moved on, 
first at a trot and then at a gallop. The youth rode before 
the first rank bareback on his colt without a bridle. He 
urged the colt with his heels, and every little while looked 
with sparkling eyes on the naked sabre. 

When the village was in sight, he turned out of the wil- 
lows and led by a somewhat muddy road to the alder grove, 
in which it was still muddier ; therefore they slackened the 
speed of the horses. 

" Watch ! " said the boy ; " they are about ten rods on the 
right from the end of the alder grove." 

They advanced now very slowly, for the road was diffi- 
cult and heavy ; the cavalry horses sank frequently to 
their knees. At last the alder grove began to grow thinner, 
and they came to the edge of the open space. 

Not more than three hundred yards distant, they saw 
a broad square rising somewhat, and in it the priest's house 
surrounded by poplars, among which were to be seen the 
tops of straw beehives. On the square were two hundred 
horsemen in rimmed helmets and breastplates. 

The great horsemen sat on enormous lean horses, and 
were in readiness, — some with rapiers at their shoulders, 
others with muskets on their thighs ; but they were look- 
ing in another direction toward the m^in road, from which 
alone they expected the enemy. A splendid blue standard 
with a golden lion was waving above their heads. 

Farther on, around the house stood guards by twos. One 
was turned toward the alder grove ; but because the sun 
shone brightly and struck his eyes, and in the alders, which 
were already covered with thick leaves, it was almost dark, 
he could not see the Polish horsemen. 


In Shandarovski, a fiery horseman, the blood began to 
boil like water in a pot ; but he restrained himself and waited 
till the ranks should be in order. Meanwhile Roh Kovalski 
put his heavy hand on the shoulder of the youth, — 

" Listen, horsefly ! " said he ; " have you seen the king ? " 

" I saw him, great mighty lord ! '* whispered the lad. 

" How did he look ? How can he be known ? " 

" He is terribly black m the face, and wears red ribbons 
at his side." 

" Did you see his horse ?." 

" The horse is black, with a white f^e." 

" Look out, and show him to me." 

" I will. But shall we go quickly ? " 

" Shut your mouth ! " 

Here they were silent; and Roh began to pray to the 
Most Holy Lady to permit him to meet Karl, and to direct 
his hand at the meeting. 

The silence continued still a moment, then the horse un- 
der Shandarovski himself snorted. At that the horseman 
on guard looked, (juivered as if something had been thrown 
at his saddle, and firi?<l his pistol. 

" Allah ! Allah ! Kil^ slay ! Uha-u, slay ! " was heard 
in the alder grove ; and the squadron, coming out of the 
shadow like lightning, rushed^ at the Swedes. 

They struck into the smoke "^J^f ore all could turn front 
to them, and a terrible hewing br^an ; only sabres and ra- 
piers were used, for no man had tin>fi to fire. In the twin- 
kle of an eye the Poles pushed the »^'edes to the fence, 
which fell with a rattle under the press^ of the horses' 
rumps, and the Poles began to slash tliei^ so madly that 
they were crowded and confused. TwiceSfiSiCy tried to 
close, and twice torn asunder they formed t\v(m^^P^^^te 
bodies which in a twinkle divided into smalh'r gi'(?KPS > ^t 
last they were scattered as peas thrown by a jfljasant 
through the air with a shovel. \ 

All at once were heard despairing voices : " The kin^ the 
king ! Save the kii\g ! " 

But Karl Gustav, at the first moment of the eiiconnf^^' 
with pistols in hand and a sword in his U'Oth, ruslictl (vl^t. 
The trooper who held the horse at the door gave him t^® 
beast that moment ; the king sprang on, and turning fthe 
corner, rushed between the poplars and the beehives to '^^' 
cape by the rear from the circle of battle. ^ 

Reaching the fence he spurred his horse, sprang o\*^^> 


and fell into the group of his men who were defending 
themselves against the right wing of the Poles, who had 
just surrounded the house and were lighting with the Swedes 
behind the garden. 

" To the road ! " cried Karl Gustav. And overturning 
with the hilt of his sword the Polish horseman who was 
raising his sabre above him, with one spring he came out 
of the whirl of the fight; the Swedes broke the Polish 
rank and sprang after him with all their force, as a herd of 
deer hunted by dogs rush whither they are led by their 

The Polish horsemen turned their horses after them, and 
the chase began. Both came out on the highroad from 
Kudnik to Boyanovka. They were seen from the front 
yard where the main battle was raging, and just then it 
was that the voices were heard crying, — 

" The king, the king ! Save the king ! " 

But the Swedes in the front yard were so pressed by Shan- 
darovski that they could not think even of saving them- 
selves; the king raced on then with a party of not more 
than twelve men, while after him were chasing nearly 
thirty, and at the head of them all Roh Kovalski. 

The lad who was to point out the king was involved 
somewhere in the general battle, but Roh himself recog- 
nized Karl Gustav by the knot of red ribbons. Then he 
thought that his opportunity had come ; he bent in the sad- 
dle, pressed his horse with the spurs, and rushed on like 
a whirlwind. 

The pursued, straining the last strength from their horses, 
stretched along over the broad road. But the swifter and 
lighter Polish horses began soon to gain on them. Roh 
came up very quickly with the hindmost Swede ; he rose 
in his stirrups for a better blow, and cut terribly ; with one 
awful stroke he took off the arm and the shoulder, and 
rushed on like the wind, fastening his eyes again on the 

The next horseman was black before his eyes ; he hurled 
him down. He split tlie liead and the helmet of the third, 
and tore farther, having the king, and the king only, in his 
eye. Now the horses of the Swedes began to pant and fall ; 
a crowd of Polish horsemen overtook them and cut down 
the riders in a twinkle. 

Roh had already passed horses and men, so as not to lose 
time ; the distance between him and Karl Gustav began to 


decrease. There were only two men between him and the 

Now an arrow, sent from a bow by some one of the 
Poles, sang near the ear of Pan Roh, and sank in the loins 
of the rider rushing before him. The man trembled to the 
right and the left ; at last he bent backward, bellowed with 
an unearthly voice, and fell from the saddle. 

Between Roh and the king there was now only one man. 
liut that one, wishing evidently to save the king, instead of 
fleeing turned his horse. Kovalski came up, and a cannon- 
ball does not sweep a man from the saddle as he hurled him 
to the ground; then, giving a fearful shout, he rushed for- 
ward like a furious stag. 

The king might perhaps have met him, and would have 
perished inevitably ; but others were flying on behind Roh, 
and arrows began to whistle; any moment one of them 
might wound his horse. The king, therefore, pressed his 
heels more closely, bent his head to the mane, and shot 
through the space in front of him like a sparrow pursued 
by a hawk. 

But Roh began not only to prick his own horse with the 
spurs, but to beat him with the side of the sabre ; and so 
they sped on one after the other. Trees, stones, willows, 
flashed before their eyes; the wind whistled in their ears. 
The king's hat fell from his head ; at last he threw down 
his purse, thinking that the pitiless rider might be tempted 
by it and leave the pursuit ; but Kovalski did not look at 
the purse, and rolled his horse on with more and more 
power till the beast was groaning from effort. 

Roh had evidently forgotten himself altogether ; for rac- 
ing onward he began to shout in a voice in which besides 
threats there was also a prayer, — 

" Stop, for God's mercy ! " 

Then the king's horse stumbled so violently that if the 
king had not held the bridle with all his power the beast 
would have fallen. Roh bellowed like an aurochs ; the 
distance dividing him from Karl Gustav had decreased 

After a while the steed stumbled a second time, and again 
before the king brought him to his feet Roh had approached 
a number of yards. 

Then he straightened himself in the saddle as if for a 
blow. He was terrible ; his eyes were bursting out, his 
teeth were gleaming from under his reddish mustaches. 


TII]^. DELUGE. 381 

One more stumble of the horse, another moment, and the 
fate of the Couimonwealth, of all Sweden, of the entire 
war would have been decided. But the king's horse began 
to run again ; and the king, turning, showed the barrels of 
two pistols, and twice did he fire. 

One of the bullets shattered the knee of Kovalski's horse ; 
he reared, then fell on his forefeet, and dug the earth with 
his nose. 

The king might have rushed that moment on his pursuer 
and thrust him through with his rapier ; but at the distance 
of two hundred yards other Polish horsemen were flying 
forward ; so he bent down again in his saddle, and shot on 
like an arrow propelled from the bow of a Tartar. 

Kovalski freed himself from his horse. He looked for 
a while unconsciously at the fleeing man, then stag- 
gered like one drunk, sat on the road, and began to roar like 
a bear. 

But the king was each instant farther, farther, farther ! 
He began to diminish, to melt, and then vanished in the 
dark belt of pine scrub. 

Meanwhile, with shouting and roaring, came on Kovalski's 
companions. There were fifteen of them whose horses held 
out. One brought the king's purse, another his hat, on which 
black ostrich feathers were fastened with diamonds. These 
two began to cry out, — 

" These are yours, comrade ! they belong to you of right." 

Others asked : " Do you know whom you were chasing ? 
That was Karl himself." 

" As God is true ! In his life he has never fled before any 
man as before you. You have covered yourself with im- 
mense glory ! " 

" And how many men did you put down before you came 
up with the king ? " 

" You la(;kod only little of freeing the Commonwealth in 
one flash, with your sabre." 

"Take the purse!" 

" Take the hat ! " 

" The horse was good, but you can buy ten such with these 

Roh gazed at his comrades with dazed eyes ; at last he 
sprang up and shouted, — 

" I am Kovalski, and this is Pani Kovalski ! Go to all the 
devils ! " 

" His mind is disturbed ! " cried they. 


" Give me a horse ! I '11 catch him yet," shouted 

But they took him by the arms, and though he struggled 
they brought him back to Rudnik, pacifying and comforting 
him along the road. 

"You gave him Peter!" cried they. "See what has 
come to this victor, this conqueror of so many towns and 
villages ! " 

" Ha, ha I He has found out Polish cavaliers I " 

" He will grow tired of the Commonwealth. He has come 
to close quarters." 

"Vivat, Roh Kovalski !" 

" Vivat, vivat, the most manful cavalier, the pride of the 
whole army I " 

And they fell to drinking out of their canteens. They gave 
Roh one, and he emptied the bottle at a draught. 

During the pursuit of the king along the Boyanovka road 
the Swedes defended themselves in front of the priest's house 
with bravery worthy of their renowned regiment. Though 
attacked suddenly and scattered very quickly, they rallied as 
quickly around their blue standard, for the reason that they 
were surrounded by a dense crowd. Not one of them asked 
for quarter, but standing horse to horse, shoulder to shoul- 
der, they thrust so fiercely with their rapiers that for a time 
victory seemed to incline to their side. It was necessary 
either to break them again, which became impossible since 
a line of Polish horsemen surrounded them completely, or 
to cut them to pieces. Shandarovski recognized the second 
plan as the better ; therefore encircling the Swedes with 
a still closer ring, he sprang on them like a wounded falcon 
on a flock of long-billed cranes. A savage slaughter and 
press began. Sabres rattled against rapiers, rapiers were 
broken on the hilts of sabres. Sometimes a horse rose, like 
a dolphin above the sea waves, and in a moment fell in the 
whirl of men and horses. Shouts ceased ; there were heard 
only the cry of horses, the sharp clash of steel, gasping from 
the panting breasts of the knights ; uncommon fury had 
mastered the hearts of Poles and Swedes. They fought 
with fragments of sabres and rapiers ; they ck>sed with one 
another like hawks, caught one another by the h^ir, by mus- 
taches, gnawed with their teeth ; those who had fhjlen from 
their horses and were yet able to stand stabbed with their 
knives horses in the belly and men in the legs ; \in the 
smoke, in the steam from horses, in the terrible f rel^y of 


battle^ men were turned into giants and gave the blows of 
giants ; arms became clubs, sabres lightning. Steel helmets 
were broken at a blow, like earthen pots ; heads were cleft ; 
arms holding sabres were swept away. They hewed 
without rest; they hewed without mercy, without pity. 
From under the whirl of men and horses blood began to 
flow along the yard in streams. 

The great blue standard was waving yet above the Swe- 
dish circle, but the circle diminished with each moment. As 
when harvesters attack grain from two sides, and the sickles 
begin to glitter, the standing grain disappears and the men 
see one another more nearly each moment, thus did the 
Polish ring become ever narrower, and those fighting on 
one side could see the bent sabres fighting on the opposite 

Pan Shandarovski was wild as a hurricane, and ate into 
the Swedes as a famished wolf buries his jaws in the flesh 
of a freshly killed horse ; but one horseman surpassed him 
in fury, and that was the youth who had first let them know 
that the Swedes were in Rudnik, and now had sprung in 
with the whole squadron on the enemy. The priest's colt, 
three years old, which till that time had walked quietly over 
the land, shut in by the horses, could not break out of the 
throng ; you would have said he had gone mad, like his 
master. With ears thrown back, with eyes bursting out 
of his head, with erect mane, he pushed forward, bit, and 
kicked ; but the lad struck with his sabre as with a flail ; he 
struck at random, to the right, to the left, straight ahead ; 
his yellow forelock was covered with blood, the points of 
rapiers had been thrust into his shoulders and legs, his 
face was cut ; but these wounds only roused him. He fought 
with madness, like a man who has despaired of life and 
wishes only to avenge his own death. 

But now the Swedish body had decreased like a pile of 
snow on which men are throwing hot water from every 
side. At last around the king's standard less than twenty 
men remained. The Polish swarm had covered them com- 
pletely, and they were dying gloomily, with set teeth ; no 
hand was stretched forth, no man asked for mercy. Now 
in the crowd were heard voices : " Seize the standard ! 
The standard!" 

When he heard this, the lad pricked his colt and rushed 
on like a flame. When every Swede had two or three 
Polish horsemen against him, the lad slashed the standard- 


bearer in the mouth ; he opened his ariUvS, and fell on the 
horse's mane. The blue standard fell with him. 

The nearest Swede, shouting terribly, grasped after the 
staff at once ; but the l)oy caught the standard itself, and 
pulling, tore it off in a twinkle, wound it in a bundle, and 
holding it with both hands to his breast, began to shout to 
the sky, — 

" I have it, I won't give it ! I have it, I won't give 
it ! " 

The last remaining Swedes rushed at him with rage ; one 
thrust the flag through, and cut his shoulder. 

Then a number of men stretched their bloody hands to the 
lad, and cried : " Give the standard, give the standard ! " 

Shandarovski sprang to his aid, and commanded : " Let 
him alone ! He took it before my eyes ; let him give it to 
Charnyetski himself." 

" Charnyetski is coming ! " cried a number of voices. 

In fact, from a distance trumpets were heard; and on 
the road from the side of the field appeared a whole 
squadron, galloping to the priest's house. It was the 
Lauda squiulron ; and at the head of it rode Charnyetski 
himself. When the men had ridden up, seeing that all 
was over, they halted ; and Shandarovski's soldiers began 
to hurry toward them. 

Shandarovski himself hastened with a report to the cas- 
tellan ; but he was so exhausted that at first he could not 
catch breath, for he trembled as in a fever, and the voice 
broke in his throat every moment. 

" The king himself was here : I don't know — whether 
he has escaped ! " 

"He has, he has!" answered those who had seen the 

" The standard is taken ! There are many killed ! " 

Charnyetski, without saying a word, hurried to the scene 
of the struggle, where a cruel and woful sight presented it- 
self. More than two hundred bodies of Swedes and Poles 
were lying like a pavement, one at the side of the other, 
and often one above the other. Sometimes one held another 
by the hair ; some had died biting or tearing one another 
with their nails ; and some again were closed as in a broth- 
erly embrace, or they lay one with his head on the breast 
of his enemy. Many fac(»s wt»re so trampled that there re- 
mained nothing human in them ; those not crushed by 
hoofs had their eyes open, full of terror, the fierceness of 


battle, and rage. Blood spattered on the softened earth 
under the feet of Charnyetski's horse, which were soon 
red above the fetlocks; the odor of blood and the sweat 
of horses irritated the nostrils and stopped breath in the 

The castellan looked on those corpses of men as the agri- 
culturist looks on bound sheaves of wheat which are to fill 
out his stacks. Satisfaction was reflected on his face. He 
rode around the priest's house in silence, looked at the bodies 
lying on the other side, beyond the garden ; then returned 
slowly to the chief scene. 

" I see genuine work here, and I am satisfied with you, 

They hurled up their caps with bloody hands. 

" Vivat Charnyetski ! " 

" God grant another speedy meeting. Vivat ! vivat ! " 

And the castellan said : " You will go to the rear tor rest. 
But who took the standard ? " 

" Give the lad this way ! " cried Shandarovski ; " where 
is he ? " 

The soldiers sprang for him, and found him sitting at the 
wall of the stable near the colt, which had fallen from 
wounds and was just breathing out his last breath. At the 
first glance it did not seem that the lad would last long, but 
he held the standard with both hands to his breast. 

They bore him away at once, and brought him before 
Charnyetski. The youth stood there barefoot, with disor- 
dered hair, with naked breast, his shirt and his jacket in 
shreds, smeared with Swedish blood and his own, tottering, 
bewildered, but with unquenched fire in his eyes. 

Charnyetski was astounded at sight of him. " How is 
this ? " asked he. " Did he take the royal standard ? " 

" With his own hand and his own blood," answered Shan- 
darovski. "He was the first also to let us know of the 
Swedes ; and afterward, in the thickest of the whirl, he did 
so much that he surpassed me and us all." 

*' It is truth, genuine truth, as if some one had written 
it!" cried others. 

" What is thy name ? " asked Charnyetski of the lad. 

" Mihalko." 

" Whose art thou ? " 

" The priest's." 

" Thou hast been the priest's, but thou wilt be thy own ! " 
said Charnyetski. 

VOL. II. — 26 


Mihalko heard not the last words, for from his wounds 
and the loss of blood he tottered and fell, striking the cas- 
tellan's stirrup with his head. 

" Take him and give him every care, t am the guaranty 
that at the first Diet he will be the equal of you all in rank, 
as to-day he is the equal in spirit." 

" He deserves it ! he deserves it ! " cried the nobles. 

Then they took Mihalko on a stretcher,. and bore him to 
the priest's house. 

Charnyetski listened to the further report, which not 
Shandarovski gave, but those who had seen the pursuit of 
the king by Koh Kovalski. He was wonderfully delighted 
with that narrative, so that he caught his head, and struck 
his thighs with his hands; for he understood that after 
such an adventure the spirit must fall considerably in 
Karl Gustav. 

Zagloba was not less delighted, and putting his hands on 
his hips, said proudly to the knights, — 

" Ha ! he is a robber, is n't he ? If he had reached Karl, 
the devil himself could not have saved the king ! He is my 
blood, as God is dear to me, my blood ! " 

In course of time Zagloba believed that he was Roh 
Kovalski's uncle. 

Charnyetski gave orders to find the young knight; but 
they could not find him, for Roh, from shame and mortifi- 
cation, had crept into a barn, and burying himself in the 
straw, had fallen asleep so soundly that he came up with 
the squadron only two days later. But he still suffered 
greatly, and dared not show himself before the eyes of his 
uncle. His uncle, however, sought him out, and began to 
comfort him, — 

" Be not troubled, Roh ! " said he. " As it is, you have 
covered yourself with great glory ; I have myself heard the 
castellan praise you : * To the eye a fool,' said he, * so that 
he looks as though he could not count three, and I see that 
he is a fiery cavalier who has raised the reputation of the 
whole armv.'" 

" The Lord Jesus has not blessed me," said Roh ; " for I 
got drunk the day before, and forgot my prayers." 

" Don't try to penetrate the judgments of God, lest you 
add blasphemy to other deeds. Whatever you can take on 
your shoulders take, but take nothing on your mind ; if you 
do, you will fail." 

" But T was so near that the sweat from his horse was 



flying to me. I should have cut him to the saddle ! Uncle 
thinks that I have no reason whatever ! " 

"Every creature," said Zagloba, "has its reason. You 
are a sprightly lad, Roh, and you will give me comfort yet 
more than once. God grant your sons to have the same 
reason in their fists that you have ! " 

" I do not want that ! I am Kovalski, and this is Pan! 



After the affair at Kudnik the king advanced farther 
toward the point of the wedge between the San and the 
Vistula, and did not cease as before to march with the rear- 
guard ; for he was not only a famous leader, but a knight of 
unrivalled daring. Charnyetski, Vitovski, and Lyubomirski 
followed, and urged him on as a wild beast is urged to a trap. 
Detached parties made an uproar night and day around the 
Swedes. The retreating troops had less and less provisions ; 
they were more and more wearied and drooping in courage, 
looking forward to certain destruction. 

At last the Swedes enclosed themselves in the very corner 
where the two rivers meet, and rested. On one side the 
Vistula defended them, on the other the San, both over- 
flowed, as usual in springtime ; the third side of the tri- 
angle the king fortified with strong intrenchments, in which 
cannons were mounted. 

That was a position not to be taken, but it was possible 
to die there from hunger. But even in that regard the 
Swedes gained better courage, for they hoped that the com- 
mandants would send them provisions by water from Cra- 
cow and other river fortresses. For instance, right there at 
hand was Sandomir, in which Colonel Schinkler had col- 
lected considerable supplies. He sent these in at once; 
therefore the Swedes ate, drank, slept ; and when they woke 
they sang Lutheran psalms, praising God that he had saved 
them from such dire distress. 

But Charnyetski was preparing new blows for them. 

Sandomir in Swedish hands could always come to the aid 
of the main army. Charnyetski planned, therefore, to 
take the town with the castle at a blow, and cut off the 

" We will prepare a cruel spectacle for them," said he, at 
a council of war. " They will look on from the opposite 
bank when we strike the town, and tliey will not be able to 
give aid across the Vistula ; and when we have Sandomir 
we will not let provisions come from Wirtz in Cracow." 


Lyubomirski, Vitovski, and others tried to dissuade Char- 
nyetski from that undertaking. " It would be well/' said 
they, " to take such a considerable town, and we might injure 
the Swedes greatly ; but how are we to take it ? We have 
no infantry, siege guns we have not ; it would be hard for 
cavalry to attack walls." 

" But do our peasants," asked Charnyetski, " fight badly 
as infantry ? If I had two thousand such as Mihalko, I 
would take not only Sandomir, but Warsaw." 

And without listening to further counsel he crossed the 
Vistula. Barely had his summons gone through the 
neighborhood when a couple of thousand men hurried to 
him, one with a scythe, another with a musket, the 
third with carabine ; and they marched against Sandomir. 

They fell upon the place rather suddenly, and in the 
streets a fierce conflict set in. The Swedes defended them- 
selves furiously from the windows and the roofs, but they 
could not withstand the onrush. They were crushed like 
worms in the houses, and pushed entirely out of the town. 
Schinkler took refuge, with the remnant of his forces, in 
the castle; but the Poles followed him with the same 
impetuosity. A storm against the gates and the walls 
began. Schinkler saw that he could not hold out, even in 
the castle ; so he collected what he could of men, articles 
and supplies of provisions, and putting them on boats, 
crossed to the king, who looked from the other bank 
on the defeat of his men without being able to succor 

The castle fell into the hands of the Poles ; but the 
cunning Swede vrhen departing put under the walls in the 
cellars kegs of powder with lighted matches. 

When he appeared before the king he told him of this 
at once, so as to rejoice his heart. 

"The castle," said he, "will fly into the air with all the 
men. Charnyetski may perish." 

"If that is true, I want myself to see how the pious 
Poles will fly to heaven," said the king ; and he remained 
on the spot with all the generals. 

In spite of the commands of Charnyetski, who foresaw 
deceit, the volunteers and the peasants ran around through 
the whole castle to seek hidden Swedes and treasure. 
The trumpets sounded an alarm for every man to take 
refuge in the town ; but the searchers in the castle did not 
hear the trumpets, or would not heed them. 


All at once the ground trembled under their feet, an 
awful thunder and a roar tore the air, a gigantic pillar of 
fire rose to the sky, hurling upward earth, walls, roofs, the 
whole castle, and more than five hundred bodies of those 
who had not been able to withdraw. 

Karl Gustav held his sides from delight, and his favor- 
seeking courtiers began at once to repeat his words : " The 
Poles are going to heaven, to heaven ! " 

But that joy was premature ; for none the less did 
Sandomir remain in Polish hands, and could no longer 
furnish food for the main army enclosed between the 

Charnyetski disposed his camp opposite the Swedes, 
on the other side of the Vistula, and guarded the passage. 

Sapyeha, grand hetman of Lithuania and voevoda of 
Vilna, came from the other side and took his position on 
the San. 

The Swedes were invested completely ; they were caught 
as it were in a vise. 

''The trap is closed I '^ said the soldiers to one another in 
the Polish camps. 

For every man, even the least acquainted with military 
art, understood that inevitable destruction was hanging 
over the invaders, unless reinforcements should come in 
time and rescue them from trouble. 

The Swedes too understood this. Every morning officers 
and soldiers, coming to the shore of the Vistula, looked with 
despair in their eyes and their hearts at the legions 
of Charnyetski's terrible cavalry standing black on the 
other side. 

Then they went to the San; there again the troops of 
Sapyeha were watching day and night, ready to receive 
them with sabre and musket. 

To cross either the San or the Vistula while both armies 
stood near was not to be thought of. The Swedes might 
return to Yaroslav by the same road over which they had 
come, but they knew that in that case not one of them 
would ever see Sweden. 

For the Swedes grievous days and still more grievous 
nights now began, for these days and nights were uproari- 
ous and quarrelsome. Again provisions were at an end. 

Meanwhile Charnyetski, leaving command of the army to 
Lyubomirski and taking the Lauda squadron as guard, 
crossed the Vistula above the mouth of the San, to visit 


Sapyeha and take counsel with him touching the future of 
the war. 

This time the mediation of Zagloba was not needed to 
make the two leaders agree; for both loved the country 
more than each one himself, both were ready to sacrifice to 
it private interests, self-love, and ambition. 

The Lithuanian hetman did not envy Charnyetski, nor 
did Charnyetski envy the hetman, but each did homage to 
the other ; so the meeting between them was of such charac- 
ter that tears stood in the eyes of the oldest soldiers. 

" The Commonwealth is growing, the dear country is re- 
joicing, when such sons of heroes take one another by the 
shoulders," said Zagloba to Pan Michael and Pan Yan. 
"Charnyetski is a terrible soldier and a true soul, but 
put Sapyeha to a wound and it will heal. Would there 
were more such men ! The skin would &y off the Swedes, 
could they see this love of the greatest patriots. How did 
they conquer us, if not through the rancor and envy of 
magnates ? Have they overcome us with force ? This is 
how I understand ! The soul jumps in a man's body at 
sight of such a meeting. I will guarantee, too, that it will 
not be dry ; for Sapyeha loves a feast wonderfully, and with 
such a friend he will willingly let himself out." 

" God is merciful ! the evil will pass," said Pan Yan. 

" Be careful that you do not blaspheme," said Zagloba ; 
" every evil must pass, for should it last forever it would 
prove that the Devil governs the world, and not the Lord 
Jesus, who has mercy inexhaustible." 

Their further conversation was interrupted by the sight of 
Babinich, whose lofty form they saw from a distance over 
the wave of other heads. 

Pan Michael and Zagloba began to beckon to him, but he 
was so much occupied in looking at Charnyetski that he 
did not notice them at first. 

" See," said Zagloba, " how thin the man has grown ! " 

"It must be that he has not done much against 
Boguslav," said Volodyovski ; " otherwise he would be 
more joyful." 

"It is sure that he has not, for Boguslav is before 
Marienburg with Steinbock, acting against the fortress." 

" There is hope in God that he will do nothing." 

"Even if he should take Marienburg," said Zagloba, "we 
will capture Karl Gustav right away ; we shall see if they 
will not give the fortress for the king." 


" See ! Babinich is coming to us ! " interrupted Pan Yan. 

He had indeed seen them, and was pushing the crowd to 
both sides ; he motioned with his cap, smiling at them from 
a distance. They greeted one another as good friends and 

" What is to be heard ? What have you done with the 
prince ? " asked Zagloba. 

" Evil, evil ! But there is no time to tell of it We 
shall sit down to table at once. You will remain here for 
the night ; come to me after the feast to pass the night 
among my Tartars. I have a comfortable cabin ; we will 
talk at the cups till morning." 

" The moment a man says a wise thing it is not I who 
will oppose," said Zagloba. " But tell us why you have 
grown so thin ? " 

" That hell-dweller overthrew me and my horse like an 
earthen pot, so that from that time I am spitting fresh 
blood and cannot recover. There is hope in the mercy of 
our Lord Christ that I shall let the blood out of him yet. 
But let us go now, for Sapyeha and Charnyetski are be- 
ginning to make declarations and to be ceremonious about 
precedence, — a sign that the tables are ready. We wait for 
you here with great pleasure, for you have shed Swedish 
pig-blood in plenty." 

" Let others speak of what I have done," said Zagloba ; 
" it does not become me." 

Meanwhile whole throngs moved on, and all went to the 
square between the tents on which were placed tables. 
Sapyeha in honor of Charnyetski entertained like a king. 
The table at which Charnyetski was seated was covered 
with Swedish flags. Mead and wine flowed from vats, so 
that toward the end both leaders became somewhat joyous. 
There was no lack of gladsomeness, of jests, of toasts, 
of noise ; though the weather was marvellous, and the sun 
warm beyond wonder. Finally the cool of the evening 
separated the feasters. 

Then Kmita took his guests to the Tartars. They sat 
down in his tent on trunks packed closely with every kind 
of booty, and began to speak of Kmita's expedition. 

" Boguslav is now before Marienburg," said Pan Andrei, 
" though some say that he is at the elector's, with whom 
he is to march to the relief of the king." 

" So much the better ; then we shall meet ! You young 
fellows do not know how to manage him ; let us see what 


the old man will do. He has met with various persons, 
but not yet with Zagloba. I say that we shall meet, though 
Prince Yanush in his will advised him to keep far from 

" The elector is a cunning man," said Pan Yan ; " and if 
he sees that it is going ill with Karl, he will drop all his 
promises and his oath." 

" But I tell you that he will not," said Zagloba. " No 
one is so venomous against us as the Prussian. When your 
servant who had to work under your feet and brush your 
clothes becomes your master by change of fortune, he will 
be sterner to you, the kinder you were to him." 

" But why is that ? " asked Pan Michael. 

"His previous condition of service will remain in his 
mind, and he will avenge himself on you for it, though you 
have been to him kindness itself." 

" What of that ? " asked P^-n Michael. " It often happens 
that a dog bites his master in the hand. Better let Babi- 
nich tell about his expedition." 

" We are listening," said Pan Yan. 

Kmita, after he had been silent awhile, drew breath and 
began to tell of the last campaign of Sapyeha against 
Boguslav, and the defeat of the latter at Yanov; finally 
how Prince Boguslav had broken the Tartars, overturned 
him with his horse, and escaped alive. 

"But," interrupted Volodyovski, "you said that you 
would follow him with your Tartars, even to the Baltic." 

"And you told me also in your time," replied Kmita, 
" how Pan Yan here present, when Bogun carried off his 
beloved maiden, forgot her and revenge because the coun- 
try was in need. A man becomes like those with whom 
he keeps company; I have joined you, gentlemen, and I 
wish to follow your example." 

" May the Mother of God reward you, as she has Pan 
Yan ! " said Zagloba. " Still I would rather your maiden 
were in the wilderness than in Boguslav's hands." 

" That is nothing ! " exclaimed Pan Michael ; " you will 
find her ! " 

" I have to find not only her person, but her regard and 

"One will come after the other," said Pan Michael, "even 
if you had to take her person by force, as at that time — 
you remember ? " 

" I shall not do such a deed again." 


Here Pan Andrei sighed deeply, and after a while he 
said, '' Not only have I not found her, but Boguslav has 
taken another from me." 

" A pure Turk ! as God is dear to me ! " cried Zagloba. 

And Pan Yan inquired : " What other ? " 

" Oh, it is a long story, a long story," said Kmita. " There 
was a maiden in Zamost, wonderfully fair, who pleased 
Pan Zamoyski. He, fearing Princess Vishnyevetski, his 
sister, did not dare to be over-bold before her ; he planned, 
therefore, to send the maiden away with me, as if to Sapy- 
eha, to find an inheritance in Lithuania, but in reality to 
take her from me about two miles from Zamost, and put 
her in some wilderness where no one could stand in his 
way. But I sounded liis intention. You want, thought I 
to myself, to make a pander of me; wait! T flogged his 
men, and the lady in all maidenly honor I brought to 
Sapyeha. Well, 1 say to you that the girl is as beautiful as 
a goldfinch, but honest. I am now another man, and my 
comrades, the Lord light their souls ! are long ago dust in 
the earth." 

" What sort of maiden was she ? " asked Zagloba. 

" From a respectable house, a lady-in-waiting on Princess 
Griselda. She was once engaged to a Lithuanian, Podbi- 
pienta, whom you, gentlemen, knew." 

" Anusia Borzobogati ! " shouted Volodyovski, springing 
from his place. 

Zagloba jumped up too from a pile of felt. " Pan Michael, 
restrain yourself ! " 

But Volodyovski sprang like a cat toward Kmita. " Is it 
you, traitor, who let Boguslav carry her off ? " 

" Be not unjust to me," said Kmita. ** I took her safely to 
the hetman, having as much care for her as for my own sister. 
Boguslav seized her, not from me, but from another officer 
with whom Pan Sa])yeha sent her to his own family ; his 
name was Glovbich or something, I do not remember well." 

" Where is he now ? " 

" He is no longer living, he was slain ; so at least 
Sapyeha's officers said. I was attacking Boguslav sepa- 
rately, with the Tartars ; therefore T know nothing accurately 
save what I have told you. But noticing your changed 
face, I see that a similar thing has mot us ; the same man 
has wronged us, and since that is the case h;t us join against 
him to avonge the wrong and take vongoance in company. 
He is a great lord and a great knight, and still I think it 


will be narrow for him in the whole Commonwealth, if he 
has two such enemies." 

**Here is my hand!" said Volodyovski. "Henceforth 
we are friends for life and death. Whoever meets him 
first will pay him for both. God grant me to meet him 
first, for that I will let his blood out is as sure as that there 
is Amen in * Our Father.' " 

Here Pan Michael began to move his mustaches terribly 
and to feel of his sabre. Zagloba was frightened, for he 
knew that with Pan Michael there was no joking. 

" I should not care to be Prince Boguslav now," said he, 
" even if some one should add Livonia to my title. It is 
enough to have such a wildcat as Kmita against one, but 
what will he do with Pan Michael ? And that is not all j 
I will conclude an alliance with you. My head, your 
sabres ! I do not know as there is a potentate in Christen- 
dom who could stand against such an alliance. Besides, 
the Lord God will sooner or later take away his luck, for it 
cannot be that for a traitor and a heretic there is no pun- 
ishment ; as it is, Kmita has given it to him terribly." 

" I do not deny that more than one confusion has met 
him from me," said Pan Andrei. And giving orders to 
fill the goblets, he told how he had freed Soroka from cap- 
tivity. But he did not tell how he had cast himself first 
at the feet of Radzivill, for at the very thought of that his 
blood boiled. 

Pan Michael was rejoiced while hearing the narrative, 
and said at the end, — 

" May God aid you, Yendrek ! With such a daring man 
one could go to hell. The only trouble is that we shall not 
always campaign together, for service is service. They may 
send me to one end of the Commonwealth and you to the 
other. It is not known which will meet him first" 

Kmita was silent a moment. 

" In justice I should reach him — if only I do not come 
out again with confusion, for I am ashamed to acknowledge 
that I cannot meet that hell-dweller hand to hand." 

" Then I will teach you all my secrets," said Pan Michael. 

** Or I ! " said Zagloba. 

" Pardon me, your grace, I prefer to learn from Michael," 
said Kmita. 

" Though he is such a knight, still I and Pani Kovalski 
are not afraid of him, if only I had a good sleep," put in 


** Be quiet, Roh ! " answered Zagloba ; " may GU)d not 
punish you through his hand for boasting." 

" Oh, tfu ! nothing will happen to me from him." 

Poor Kovalski was an unlucky prophet, but it was steam- 
ing terribly from his forelock, and he was ready to chal- 
lenge the whole world to single combat. Others too drank 
heavily to one another, and to the destruction of Boguslav 
and the Swedes. 

" I have heard," said Kmita, " that as soon as we rub out 
the Swedes here and take the king, we shall march straight 
to Warsaw. Then surely there will be an end of the war. 
After that will come the elector's turn." 

" Oh, that 's it ! that 's it ! " said Zagloba. 

" I heard Sapyeha say that once, and he, as a great man, 
calculates better than others; he said: ^ There will be a 
truce with the Swedes ; with the Northerners there is one 
already, but with the elector we should not make any con- 
ditions. Pan Charnyetski,* he says, ^ will go with Lyubo- 
mirski to Brandenburg, and I with the treasurer of Lithuania 
to Electoral Prussia; and if after that we do not join Prus- 
sia to the Commonwealth, it is because in our chancellery 
we have no such head as Pan Zagloba, who in autograph 
letters threatened the elector.' " 

" Did Sapyeha say that ? " asked Zagloba, flushing from 

" All heard him. And I was terribly glad, for that same 
rod will flog Boguslav ; and if not earlier, we will surely 
reach him at that time." 

" If we can finish with these Swedes first," said Zagloba. 
" Devil take them ! Let them give up Livland and a mil- 
lion, I will let them off alive." 

" The Cossack caught the Tartar, and the Tartar is hold- 
ing him by the head ! " said Pan Yan, laughing. " Karl is 
still in Poland ; Cracow, Warsaw, Poznan, and all the most 
noted towns are in his hands, and father wants him to ran- 
som himself. Hei, we shall have to work much at him yet 
before we can think of the elector." 

" And there is Steinbock's army, and the garrisons, and 
Wirtz," put in Pan Stanislav. 

" But why do we sit here with folded hands ? " asked 
Roh Kovalski, on a sudden, with staring eyes ; " cannot we 
beat the Swedes ? " 

" You are foolish, Roh," said Zagloba. 

^' Uncle always says one thing ; but as I am alive, I saw 


a boat at the shore. We might go and carry off even the 
sentry. It is so dark that you might strike a man on the 
snout and he would n't know who did it ; before they could 
see we should return and exhibit the courage of cavaliers 
to both commanders. If you do not wish to go, I will go 

" The dead calf moved his tail, wonder of wonders ! " said 
Zagloba, angrily. 

But Kmita's nostrils began to quiver at once. " Not a 
bad idea ! not a bad idea ! " said he. 

" Good for camp-followers, but not for him who regards 
dignity. Have respect for yourselves ! You are colonels, 
but you wish to amuse yourselves with wandering thieves ! " 

" True, it is not very becoming," added Volodyovski. 
"We would better go to sleep." 

All agreed with that idea ; therefore they kneeled down 
to their prayers and repeated them aloud ; after that they 
stretched themselves on the felt cloth, and were soon sleep- 
ing the sleep of the just. 

But an hour later all sprang to their feet, for beyond 
the river the roaring of guns was heard ; while shouts and 
tumult rose in Sapyeha's whole camp. 

" Jesus ! Mary ! " exclaimed Zagloba. " The Swedes 
are coming!" 

" What are you talking about ? " asked Volodyovski, seiz- 
ing his sabre. 

" Roh, come here ! " cried Zagloba, for in cases of surprise 
he was glad to have his sister's son near him. 

But Koh was not in the tent. 

They ran out on the square. Crowds were already be- 
fore the tents, and all were making their way toward the 
river, for on the other side was to be seen flashing of fire, 
and an increasing roar was heard. 

" What has happened, what has happened ? " was asked 
of the numerous guards disposed along the bank. 

But the guards had seen nothing. One of the soldiers 
said that he had heard as it were the plash of a wave, but 
as fog was hanging over the water he could see nothing ; 
he did not wish therefore to raise the camp for a mere 

When Zagloba heard this he caught himself by the head 
in desperation, — 

" Roh has gone to the Swedes ! He said that he wished to 
carry off a sentry." 



" For (Jod's sake, that may be ! '' cried Kmita. 

" They will shoot the lad, as God is in heaven ! " con- 
tinued Zagloba, in despair. " Worthy gentlemen, is there 
no help? Lord God, that boy was of the purest gold; 
there is not another such in the two armies ! What shot 
that idea into his stupid head ? Oh, Mother of God, save 
him in trouble I " 

" Maybe he will return ; the fog is dense. They will not 
see him." 

" I will wait for him here even till morning. Mother 
of God, Mother of God ! " 

Meanwhile shots on the opposite bank lessened, lights 
went out gradually, and after an hour dull silence set in. 
Zagloba walked along the bank of the river like a hen with 
ducklings, and tore out the remnant of hair in his forelock ; 
but he waited in vain, he despaired in vain. The morning 
whitened the river, the sun rose, but Boh came not. 



Zaoloba in unbroken despair betook himself to Char- 
nyetski, with a request that he would send to the Swedes 
to see what had happened to Kovalski. Is he alive yet, 
is he groaning in captivity, or has he paid with his life for 
his daring ? 

Charnyetski agreed to this willingly, for he loved Za- 
globa. Then comforting him in his suffering, he said, — 

" I think your sister's son must be alive, otherwise the 
water would have brought him ashore." 

" God grant that he is ! " answered Zagloba ; " still it 
would be hard for the water to raise him, for not only had 
he a heavy hand, but his wit was like lead, as is shown by 
his action." 

" You speak justly," answered Charnyetski. " If he is 
alive I ought to give orders to drag him with a horse over 
the square, for disregard of discipline. He might alarm 
the Swedish army, but he has alarmed both armies ; be- 
sides, he was not free to touch the Swedes without com- 
mand and my order. Is this a general militia or what 
the devil, that every man has a right to act on his own 
account ? " 

" He has offended, I agree ; I will punish him myself, if 
only the Lord will bring him back." 

"But I forgive him in remembrance of the Kudnik 
affair. I have many prisoners to exchange, and more dis- 
tinguished officers than Kovalski. Do you go to the Swedes 
and negotiate about exchange ; I will give two or three for 
him if need be, for I do not wish to make your heart bleed. 
Come to me for a letter to the king, and go quickly." 

Zagloba sprang with rejoicing to Kmita's tent, and told 
his comrades what had happened. Pan Andrei and Vo- 
lodyovski exclaimed at once that they too would go with 
him, for both were curious to see the Swedes; besides 
Kmita might be very useful, since he spoke German al- 
most as fluently as Polish. 

Preparations did not delay them long. Charnyetski, 
without waiting for the return of Zagloba, sent the letter 


by a messenger; then they provided a piece of white 
cloth fixed to a pole^ took a trumpeter, sat in a boat, 
and moved on. 

At first they went in silence, nothing save the plash of 
oars was to be heard; at last Zagloba was somewhat 
alarmed and said, — 

" Let the trumpeter announce us immediately, for those 
scoundrels are ready to fire in spite of the white flag." 

" What do you say ? " answered Volodyovski ; " even 
barbarians respect envoys, and this is a civilized people." 

" Let the trumpeter sound, I say. The first soldier who 
happens along will fire, make a hole in the boat, and we 
shall get into the water ; the water is cold, and I have no 
wish to get wet through their courtesy." 

^* There, a sentry is visible ! " said Kmita. 

The trumpeter sounded. The boat shot forward quickly ; 
on the other shore a hurried movement began, and soon a 
mounted officer rode up, wearing a yellow leather cap. 
When he had approached the edge of the water he shaded 
his eyes with his hand and began to look against the light. 
A few yards from the shore Kmita removed his cap in 
gpreeting; the officer bowed to him with equal politeness. 

" A letter from Pan Charnyetski to the Most Serene King 
of Sweden ! " cried Pan Andrei, showing the letter. 

The guard standing on the shore presented arms. Pan 
Zagloba was completely reassured ; presently he fixed his 
countenance in dignity befitting his position as an envoy, 
and said in Latin, — 

"The past night a certain cavalier was seized on this 
shore ; I have come to ask for him." 

" I cannot speak Latin," answered the ofiicer. 

" Ignoramus ! " muttered Zagloba. 

The officer turned then to Pan Andrei, — 

" The king is in the farther end of the camp. Be pleased, 
gentlemen, to stay here ; I will go and announce you." And 
he turned his horse. 

The envoys looked around. The camp was very spacious, 
for it embraced the whole triangle formed by the San and 
the Vistula. At the summit of the triangle lay Panyev, at 
the base Tamobjeg on one side, and Rozvadov on the other. 
Apparently it was impossible to take in the whole extent at 
a glance; still, as far as the eye could reach, were to be 
seen trenches, embankments, earthworks, and fascines at 
which were cannons and men. In the very centre of the 


place^ in Gojytsi, were the quarters of the king ; there also 
the main forces of the army. 

" If hunger does not drive them out of this place, we can 
do nothing with them," said Kmita. " The whole region is 
fortified. There is pasture for horses." 

"But there are not fish for so many mouths," said 
Zagloba. " Lutherans do not like fasting food. Not long 
since they had all Poland, now they have this wedge ; let 
them sit here in safety, or go back to Yaroslav." 

" Very skilful men made these trenches," added Volodyov- 
ski, looking with the eye of a specialist on the work. " We 
have more swordsmen, but fewer learned officers ; and in 
military art we are behind others." 
." Why is that ? " asked Zagloba. 

" Why ? It does not beseem me as a soldier who has served 
all his life in the cavalry, to say this, but everywhere infantry 
and cannon are the main thing ; hence those campaigns and 
military manoeuvres, marches, and countermarches. A man 
in a foreign army must devour a multitude of books and turn 
over a multitude of Roman authors before he becomes a dis- 
tinguished officer; but there is nothing of that with us. 
Cavalry rushes into the smoke in a body, and shaves with its 
sabres ; and if it does not shave off in a minute, then they 
shave it off." 

" You speak soundly, Pan Michael ; but what nation has 
won so many famous victories ? " 

" Yes, because others in old times warred in the same way, 
and not having the same impetus they were bound to lose ; 
but now they have become wiser, and see what they are doing." 

" Wait for the end. Place for me now the wisest Swedish 
or German engineer, and against him I will put Roh, who 
has never turned over books, and let us see." 

** If you could put him," interrupted Kmita. 

" True, true I I am terribly sorry for him. Pan Andrei, 
jabber a little in that dog's language of those breeches 
fellows, and ask what has happened to Roh." 

" You do not know regular soldiers. Here no man will 
open his lips to you without an order ; they are stingy of 

" I know that they are surly scoundrels. While if to our 
nobles, and especially to the general militia, an envoy comes, 
immediately talk, talk, they will drink gorailka with him, 
and will enter into political discussion with him ; and see 
how these fellows stand there like posts and bulge out 
VOL. II. — 26 


their eyes at us ! I wisli they would smother to the last 
man ! " 

In fact, more and more foot-soldiers gathered around the 
envoys, looking at them curiously. The envoys were dressed 
so carefully in elegant and even rich garments, that they 
made an imposing appearance. Zagloba arrested most atten- 
tion, for he bore himself with almost senatorial dignity ; Vo- 
lodyovski was less considered, by reason of his stature. 

Meanwhile the officer who received them first on the bank 
returned with another of higher rank, and with soldiers 
leading horses. The superior officer bowed to the envoys 
and said in Polish, — 

" His Royal Grace asks you, gentlemen, to his quai*ters ; 
and since they are not very near we have brought horses." 

" Are you a Pole ? " asked Zagloba. 

" No, I am a Cheh, — Sadovski, in the Swedish service." 

Kmita approached him at once. " Do you know me ? " 

Sadovski looked at him quickly. " Of course ! At Chens- 
tohova you blew up the largest siege gun, and Miller gave 
you to Kuklinovski. I greet you, greet you heartily as a 
famous knight." 

" And what is going on with Kuklinovski ? " asked Kmita. 

" But do you not know ? " 

" I know that I paid him with tliat with which he wanted 
to treat me, but I left him alive." 

" He died." 

" I thought he would freeze to death," said Pan Andrei, 
waving his hand. 

. ** Worthy Colonel," put in Zagloba, " have you not a 
certain Ron Kovalski ? " 

Sadovski laughed : " Of course." 

" Praise be to Grod and the Most Holy Lady ! The lad is 
alive and I shall get him. Praise be to God I " 

" I do not know whether the king will be willing to yield 
him up," said Sadovski. 

" But why not ? " 

"Because he has pleased him greatly. He recognized 
him at once as the same man who had pushed after him 
with such vigor at Rudnik. We held our sides listening to 
the narrative of the prisoner. The king asked : * Why did 
you pick me out ? ' and he answered, * 1 made a vow.' Then 
the king asked again, ^ But will you do so again ? ' * Of 
course I * answered the prisoner. The king began to laugh. 
* Put away your vow,' said he, * and I will give you your life 


and freedom/ * Impossible ! ' ^ Why ? ' * For my uncle 
would proclaim me a fool.' * And are you so sure tiat you 
could manage me in a hand-to-hand fight ? ' * Oh, I could 
manage five men like you/ said he. Then the king asked 
again : * And do you dare to raise your hand against majesty */ ' 
* Yes,' said he, 'for you have a vile faith.' They interpreted 
every word to the king, and he was more and more pleased, 
and continued to repeat : ' Tliis man has pleased me.' Then 
wishing to see whether in truth he had such strength, he 
gave orders to choose twelve of the strongest men in camp 
and bring them to wrestle in turn with the prisoner. But he 
is a nuiscular fellow ! When I came away he liad stretclied 
out ten one after another, and not a man of tliem could rise 
again. We shall arrive just at the end of the amusement." 

"I recognize Roh, my blood ! " said Zagloba. " We will 
give for him even tliree famous officers ! " 

" You will find the king in good humor," said Sadovski, 
" which is a rare tiling nowadays." 

" Oh, T believe that ! " answered the little knight. 

Meanwliile Sadovski turned to Kmita, and asked how he 
had not only freed himself from Kuklinovski, but put an 
end to him. Kmita told him in detail. Sadovski, while 
listening, seized his own head with amazement; at last he 
pressed Kmita's hand again, and said, — 

^* Believe me, I am sincerely glad ; for though T serve the 
Swedes, every true soldier's heai*t rejoices when a real cava- 
lier puts down a ruffian. I must acknowledge to you that 
when a daring man is found among you, one must look with 
a lantern through the universe to find his equal." 

-" You are a courteous officer," said Zagloba. 

" And a famous soldier, we know that," added Volodyovski. 

" I learned courtesy and the soldier's art from you," an- 
swered Sadovski, touching his cap. 

Thus they conversed, vying with one another in courtesy, 
till they reached Gojytsi, where the king's quarters were. 
The whole village was occupied by soldiers of various arms. 
Our envoys looked with curiosity at the groups scattered 
among the fences. Some, wishing to sleep away their 
hunger, were dozing around cottages, for the day was very 
clear and warm ; some were playing dice on drums, drinking 
beer ; some were hanging their clothes on the fences ; others 
were sitting in front of the cottages singing Scandinavian 
songs, rubbing with brick-dust their breastplates and helmets, 
from which bright gleams went forth. In places they were 


cleaning horses^ or leading them out ; in a word, camp life 
was moving and seething under the bright sky. There 
were men, it is true, who bore signs of terrible toil and 
hunger, but the sun covered their leanness with gold; 
besides, days of rest were beginning for those incomparable 
warriors, therefore they took courage at once, and assumed 
a military bearing. Volodyovski admired them in spirit, 
especially the infantry regiments, famous through the whole 
world for endurance and bravery. Sadovski gave explana- 
tions as they passed, saying, — 

" This is the Smaland regiment of the royal guard. This 
is the infantry of Delekarlia, the very best." 

** In God's name, what little monsters are these ? " cried 
Zagloba on a sudden, pointing to a group of small men with 
olive complexions and black hair hanging on both sides of 
their heads. 

"Those are Laplanders, who belong to the remotest 

" Are they good in battle ? It seems to me that I might 
take three in each hand and strike with their heads till 1 
was tired." 

" You could surely do so. They are useless in battle. The 
Swedes bring them for camp servants, and partly as a 
curiosity. But they are the most skilful of wizards ; each 
of them has at least one devil in his service, and some 
have five." 

" How do they get such friendship with evil spirits ? " 
asked Kmita, making the sign of the cross. 

" Because they wander in night, which with them lasts 
half a year or more ; and you know that it is easier to hold 
converse with the Devil at night," 

" But have they souls ? " 

" It is unknown ; but I think that they are more in the 
nature of animals." 

Kmita turned his horse, caught one of the Laplanders by 
the shoulders, raised him up like a cat, and examined him 
curiously ; then he put him on his feet, and said, — 

" If the king would give me one such, I would give orders 
to have him dried and hung up in the church in Orsha, where, 
among other curiosities, are ostrich eggs." 

" In Lubniy at the parish church, there were jaws of a 
whale or even of a giant," said VolodyovskL 

" Let us go on, for something evil will fall on us here," 
taid Zagloba. 


" Let us go," repeated Sadovski. " To tell the truth, I 
ought to have had bags put on your heads, as is the custom ; 
but we have nothing here to hide, and that you have looked 
on the trenches is all the better for us." 

They spurred on their liorses, and after a while were be- 
fore the castle at Gojytsi. In front of the gate they sprang 
from their saddles, and advanced on foot j for tlie king was 
before the house. 

They saw a large number of generals and very celebmted 
officers. Old Witteraberg was there, Douglas, Lowenhaupt, 
Miller, Eriekson, and many others. All were sitting on the 
balcony, a little behind the king, whose chair was pushed 
forward ; and they looked on the amusement which Karl 
Gustav was giving himself with the prisoner. Roh had 
just stretched out the twelfth cavalier, and was in a coat 
torn by the wrestlers, panting and sweating greatly. When 
he saw his uncle in company with Kmita and Volodyovski, 
he thought at once that they too were prisoners. He stared 
at them, opened his mouth, and advanced a couple of steps ; 
but Zagloba gave him a sign with his hand to stand quietly, 
and the envoy stood himself with his comrades before the 
face of the king. 

Sadovski presented the envoys ; they bowed low, as 
custom and etiquette demanded, then Zaglol)a delivered 
Charnyetski's letter. 

The king took the letter, and began to read ; meanwhile 
the Polish envoys looked at him with curiosity, for they 
had never seen him before. He was a man in the flower of 
his age, as dark in complexion as though born an Italian or 
a Spaniard. His long hair, black as a raven's wing, fell 
behind his ears to his shoulders. In brightness ajid color 
his eyes brought to mind Yeremi Vishnyevetski ; his brows 
were greatly elevated, as if he were in continual aston- 
ishment. In the place where the brows approswhed, his 
forehead was raised in a large protuberance, which made 
him resemble a lion ; a deep wrinkle above his nose, which 
did not leave him even when he was laughing, gave his face 
a threatening and wrathful 3xpression. His lower lip pro- 
truded like that of Yan Kazimir, but his face was heavier 
and liis chin larger ; he wore mustaches in the form of cords, 
brushed out somewhat at the ends. In general, his face indi - 
cated an uncommon man, one of those who when they walk 
over tht earth press blood out of it. There was in him 
grandeur, the pride of a monarch, the strength of a lion^ and 


the quickness of genius ; but though a kindly smile never 
left his mouth, there was lacking that kindness of heart 
which illuminates a face from within with a mild light, as a 
lamp placed in the middle of an alabaster urn lights it. He 
sat in the arm-chair, with crossed legs, the powerful calves 
of which were indicated clearly from undi»r the black stock- 
ings, and blinking as was his wont, he read with a smile the 
letter from Charnyetski. Raising his lids, he looked at Pan 
Michael, and said, — 

" I knew you at once ; you slew Kanneberg." 

All eyes were turned immediately on Volodyovski, who, 
moving his mustaches, bowed and answered, — 

" At the service of your Royal Gra<^e." 

" What is your office ? -' asked the king. 

** Colonel of the Lauda squadron.'* 

" \Vhere did you serve before ? " 

" With the voevoda of Vilna." 

" And did you leave him with the others ? You betrayed 
him and me." 

" I was bound to my own king, not to your Royal Grace." 

The king said nothing ; all foreheads were frowning, eyes 
began to bore into Pan Michael ; but he stood calmly, merely 
moving his mustaches time after time. 

All at once the king said, — 

" It is pleasant for me to know such a famous cavalier. 
Kanneberg passed among us as incomparable in hand-to-hand 
conflict. You must be the first sabre in the kingdom ? " 

" /// iini verso ^In the universe) ! " said Zagloba. 

** Not the last, ' answered Volodyovski. 

" I greet you, gentlemen, heartily. For Pan Charnyetski 
I have a real lesteem as for a great soldier, though he broke 
his word to me, for he ought to be sitting quietly till now 
in Syevej." 

" Your Royal Crraco," said Kmita, " Pan Charnyetski was 
not the first to break his word, but General ^filler, who 
seized Wolfs regiment of royal infantry." 

Miller advanced a step, looked in the face of Kmita, and 
l)egan to whisper something to the king, who, blinking all 
the time, listened attentively; looking at Pan Andrei, he 
said at last, — 

" I see that Pan Charnyetski has sent me chosen cavaliers. 
I know from of old that there is no lack of daring men among 
you ; but there is a laek of faith in keeping promises and 


"Holy are the words of your Royal Grace,** answered 

" How do you understand that ? " 

" If it were not for this vice of our people, your Royal 
Grace would not be here." 

The king was silent awhile ; the generals again frowned 
at the boldness of the envoys. 

"Yan Kazimir himself freed you from the oath," said 
Karl, "for he left you and took refuge abroad." 

" From the oath we can be freed only by the Vicar of 
Christ, who resides in Rome ; and he has not freed us." 

" A truce to tliat ! " said the king. " I have acquired the 
kingdom by this," here he struck his sword, "and by this 
I will hold it. I do not need your suifrages nor your oaths. 
You want war, you will have it. I think that Pan Charnyet- 
ski remembers Golembo yet." 

"He forgot it on the road from Yaroslav," answered 

The king, instead of being angry, smiled : " I '11 remind 
him of it." 

" God rules the world." 

"Tell him to visit me; I shall be glad to receive him. 
But he must hurry, for as soon as my horses are in condi- 
tion I shall march farther." 

" Then we shall receive your Royal Grace," said Zagloba, 
bowing and placing his hand slightly on his sabre. 

" I see," said the king, " that Pan Charnyetski has sent 
in the embassy not only the best sabres, but the best mouth. 
In a moment you parry every thrust. It is lucky that the 
war is not of words, for I should find an opponent worthy 
of my power. But I will come to the question. Pan 
Charnyetski asks me to liberate this prisoner, offering two 
officers of distinction in return. I do not set such a low 
price on my soldiers as you think, and I have no wish to 
redeem them too cheaply ; that would be against my own 
and their ambition. But since I can refuse Pan Charnyetski 
nothing, I will make him a present of this cavalier." 

" Gracious Lord," answered Zagloba, " Pan Charn3'etski 
did not wish to show contempt for Swedish officers, but com- 
passion for me ; for this is my sister's son, and I, at the ser- 
vice of your Royal Grace, am Pan Charnyetski's adviser." 

" In truth," said the king, " I ought not to let the prisoner 
go, for he has made a vow against me, unless he will give up 
his vow in view of this favor." 


Here he turned to Koh, who was standing in front of 
the porch| and beckoned; "But come nearer, you strong 
fellow I " 

Roh approached a couple of steps, and stood erect. 

" Sadovski," said the king, " ask him if he will let me go 
in case I free him." 

Sadovski repeated the king's question. 

" Impossible ! " cried Roh. 

The King understood without an interpreter, and began to 
clap his hands and blink. 

" Well, well ! How can I set such a man free ? He has 
twisted the necks of twelve horsemen, and promises me as 
the thirteenth. Good, good ! the cavalier has pleased me. 
Is he Pan Charnyetski's adviser too ? If he is, I will let 
him go all the more quickly." 

" Keep your mouth shut," muttered Zagloba to Roh. 

" A truce to amusement ! " said the king, suddenly. " Take 
him, and have still one more proof of my clemency. I can 
forgive, as the lord of this kingdom, since such is my will 
and favor ; but I will not enter into terms with rebels." 

Here the king frowned, and the smile left his face: 
** Whoso raises his hand against me is a rebel, for I am his 
lawful king. Only from kindness to you have I not pun- 
ished hitherto as was proper. I have been waiting for 
you to come to your minds ; but the hour will strike when 
kindness will be exhausted and the day of punishment will 
rise. Through your self-will and instability the country 
is flaming with fire ; through your disloyalty blood is flow- 
ing. But I tell you the last days are passing ; you do not 
wish to hear admonitions, you do not wish to obey laws, 
you will obey the sword and the gallows ! " 

Lightnings flashed in Karl's eyes. Zagloba looked on 
him awhile with amazement, unable to understand whence 
that storm had come after fair weather; finally he too 
began to grow angry, therefore he bowed and said only, — 

" We thank your Royal Grace." 

Then he went off, and after him Kmita, Volodyovski, and 
Roh Kovalski. 

" Gracious, gracious ! " said Zagloba, " and before you 
can look around he bellows in your ear like a bear. Beauti- 
ful end to an embassy ! Others give honor with a cup at 
parting, but he with the gallows ! Let him hang dogs, not 
nobles ! my God ! how grievously we have sinned 
against our king, who was a father, is a father, and will be 



a father, for there is a Yagyellon heart in him. And such 
a king traitors deserted, and went to make friendship with 
scarecrows from beyond the sea. We are served rightly, 
for we were not worthy of anything better. Gibbets! 
gibbets ! He is fenced in, and we have squeezed him like 
curds in a bag, so that whey is coming out, and still he 
threatens with sword and gibbet. Wait awhile ! The Cos- 
sack caught a Tartar, and the Tartar has him by the head. 
It will be closer for you yet. — Roh, I wanted to give you 
a slap on the face or fifty blows on a carpet, but I forgive 
you now since you acted so like a cavalier and promised to 
hunt him still farther. Let me kiss you, for I am delighted 

" Uncle is still glad ! " said Roh. 

"The gibbet and the sword! And he told that to my 
eyes," said Zagloba again, after a while. " You have pro- 
tection ! The wolf protects in the same fashion a sheep for 
his own eating. And when does he say that ? Now, when 
there is goose skin on his own back. Let him take his 
Laplanders for counsellors, and with them seek Satan's aid. 
But the Most Holy Lady will help us, as she did Pan 
Bobola in Sandomir when powder threw him and his horse 
across the Vistula, and he was not hurt. He looked around 
to see where he was, and arrived in time to dine with the 
priest. With such help we will pull them all by the necks 
like lobsters out of a wicker trap." 



Almost twenty days passed. The king remained con- 
tinually at the junction of the rivers, and sent couriers to 
fortresses and commands in every direction toward Cracow 
and Warsaw, with orders for all to hasten to him with 
assistance. They sent him jilso provisions by the Vistula 
in as great quantities as possibk^ but insufficient. After 
ten days the Swedes began to eat horse-flesh ; despair 
seized the king and the generals at thought of what would 
happen when the cavalry should lose their horses, and 
when there would be no beasts to draw cannon. From 
every side too there came unpleasant news. Tlu», whole 
country was blazing with war, as if some one hatl poured 
pitch over it and set tire. Inferior commands and garrisons 
could not hasten to give aid, for they were not able to leave 
the towns and villages. Lithuania, held luitherto by the 
iron hand of Pontus de la Gardie, rose as one man. Great 
Poland, which had yielded first of all, was the first to throw 
off the yoke, and shone before the whole Commonwealth as 
an example of endurance, resolve, and enthusiasm. Par- 
ties of nobles and peasants rushed not only on the garri- 
sons in villages, but even attacked towns. In vain did the 
Swedes take terrible vengeance on the country, in vain did 
they cut off the hands of jn'isoners, in vain did they send up 
villages in smoke, cut settlements to pieces, raise gibbets, 
bring instruments of torture from Germany to torture in- 
surgents. Whoso had to suffer, suffered ; whoso had to die, 
died; but if he was a noble, he died with a sabre; if a 
petisant, with a scythe in his hand. And Swedish blood 
wa^ flowing throughout all Great Poland; the peasants 
were living in the forests, even women rushed to arms ; 
punishments merely roused vengeance and increased rage. 
Kulesha, Jegotski, and the voevoda of Podlyasye moved 
through the country like flames, and besides their parties 
all the pine-woods were filled with other parties. The fields 
lay untilled, fierce hunger increased in the land; but it 
twisted most the entrails of the Swedes, for they were con- 


fined in towns behind closed gates, and could not go to the 
open country. At last breath was failing in their bosoms. 

In Mazovia the condition was the same. There the Bark- 
shoe people dwelling in forest gloom came out of their 
wildernesses, blocked the roads, seized provisions and cou- 
riers. In Podlyasye a numerous small nobility marched in 
thousands either to Sapyeha or to Lithuania. Lyubelsk 
was in the liands of the confederates. From the distant 
Russias came Tartars, and with them the Cossacks con- 
strained to obedience. 

Therefore all were certain that if not in a week in a 
month, if not in a month in two, that river fork in which 
Karl Gustav had halted with the main army of the Swedes 
would be turned into one great tomb to the glory of the 
nation ; a great lesson for those who would attack the 

The end of the war was foreseen already; there were 
some who said that one way of salvation alone remained to 
Karl, — to ransom himself and give Swedish Livland to 
the Commonwealth. 

But suddenly the fortune of Karl and the Swedes was 
bettered. Marienburg, besieged hitherto in vain, surren- 
dered, March 20, to Steinbock. His powerful and valiant 
army had then no occupation, and could hasten to the rescue 
of the king. 

From another direction the Markgraf of Baden, having 
finished levies, was marching also to the river fork with 
ready forces, and soldiers yet unwearied. 

Both pushed forward, breaking up the smaller bands of 
insurgents, destroying, burning, slaying. Along the road 
they gathered in Swedish garrisons, took the smaller com- 
mands, and increased in power, as a river increases the 
more it takes streams to its bosom. 

Tidings of the fall of Marienburg, of the army of Stein- 
bock, and the march of the Markgraf of Baden came very 
quickly to the fork of the river, and grieved Polish hearts. 
Steinbock was still far away ; but the markgraf, advancing 
by forced marches, might soon come up and change the 
whole position at Sandomir. 

The Polish leaders then held a council in which Charny- 
etski, Sapyeha, Michael Radzivill, Vitovski, and Lyulxi- 
mirski, who had grown tired of being on the Vistula, took 
part. At this council it was decided that Sapyeha with 
the Lithuanian army was to remain to watch Karl^ and pre* 


vent his escape, Charnyetski was to move against the 
Markgraf of Baden and meet him as quickly as possible ; if 
Grod gave him victory, he would return to besiege Karl 

Corresponding orders were given at once. Next morn- 
ing the trumpets sounded to horse so quietly that they 
were barely heard ; Charnyetski wished to depart unknown 
to the Swedes. At his recent camp-ground a number of 
unoccupied parties of nobles and peasants took position 
at once. They kindled fires and made an uproar, so that 
the enemy might think that no one had left the place ; but 
Charnyetski's squadrons moved out one after another. 
First marched the Lauda squadron, which by right should 
have remained with Sapyeha; but since Charnyetski had 
fallen greatly in love with this squadron, the hetman was 
loath to take it from him. After the Lauda went the Van- 
sovich squadron, chosen men led by an old soldier half of 
whose life had been passed in shedding blood; then fol- 
lowed the squadron of Prince Dymitri Vishnyevetski, under 
the same Shandarovski who at Rudnik had covered him- 
self with immeasurable glory; then two regiments 'of 
Vitovski's dragoons, two regiments of the starosta "of 
Yavorov; the famed Stapkovski led one; then Charny- 
etski's own regiment, the king's regiment under Poly- 
anovski, and Lyubomirski's whole force. No infantry was 
taken, because of haste; nor wagons, for the army went 
on horseback. 

All were drawn up together at Zavada in good strength 
and great willingness. Then Charnyetski himself went 
out in front, and after he had arranged them for the march, 
he withdrew his horse somewhat and let them pass so as^ 
to review well the whole force. The horse under him 
sniffed, threw up his head and nodded, as if wishing to 
greet the passing regiments ; and the heart swelled in the 
castellan himself. A beautiful view was before him. As 
far as the eye reached a river of horses, a river of stern 
faces of soldiers, welling up and do\vn with the movement 
of the horses ; above them still a third river of sabres and 
lances, glittering and gleaming in the morning sun. A 
tremendous power went forth from them, and Charnyetski 
felt the power in himself ; for that was not some kind of 
collection of volunteers, but men forged on the anvil of 
battle, trained, exercised, and in conflict so " venomous " 
that no cavalry on earth of equal numbers could withstand 


them. Therefore Charnyetski felt with certainty, without 
doubt, that he would bear asunder with sabres and hoofs 
the army of the Markgraf of Baden ; and that victory, felt 
in advance, made his face so radiant that it gleamed on the 

" With God to victory ! " cried he at last. 

*^ With God ! We will conquer ! " answered mighty 

And that shout flew through all the squadrons like deep 
thunder through clouds. Charnyetski spurred his horse to 
come up with the Lauda squadron, marching in the van. 

The army moved forward. 

They advanced not like men, but like a flock of ravening 
birds which having wind of a battle from afar, fly to 
outstrip the tempest. Never, even among Tartars in the 
steppes, had any man heard of such a march. The soldiers 
slept in the saddles ; they ate and drank without dismount- 
ing ; they fed the horses from their hands. Rivers, forests, 
villages, were left behind them. Scarcely had peasants 
hurried out from their cottages to look at the army when 
the army had vanished behind clouds of dust in the dis- 
tance. They marched day and night, resting only just 
enough to escape killing the horses. 

At Kozyenitsi they came upon eight Swedish squadrons 
under Torneskiold. The Lauda men, marching in the van, 
first saw the enemy, and without even drawing breath 
sprang at them straightway and into the fire. Next ad- 
vanced Shandarovski, then Vansovich, and then Stapkovski. 

The Swedes, thinking that they had to deal with some 
mere common parties, met them in the open field, and two 
hours later there was not a living man left to go to the 
markgraf and tell him that Charnyetski was coming. 
Those eight squadrons were simply swept asunder on 
sabres, without leaving a witness of defeat. Then the 
Poles moved straight on to Magnushev, for spies informed 
them that the markgraf was at Varka with his whole army. 

Volodyovski was sent in the night with a party to learn 
how the army was disposed, and what its power was. 

Zagloba complained greatlv of that expedition, for even 
the famed Vishnyevetski had never made such marches as 
this ; therefore the old man complained, but he chose to 
go with Pan Michael rather than remain with the army. 

'< It was a golden time at Sandomir," said he, stretching 
himself in the saddle; <'a man ate, drank, and looked at 


the besieged Swedes in the distance ; but now there is not 
time even to put a canteen to your mouth. I know the 
military arts of the ancients, of the great Pompey and 
Caesar ; but Charnyetski has invented a new style. It is 
contrary to every rule to shake the stomach so many days 
and nights. The imagination begins to rebel in me from 
Imnger, and it seems to me continually that the stars are 
buckwheat pudding and the moon cheese. To the dogs 
with such warfare ! As God is dear to me, I want to gnaw 
my own horses' ears off from hunger." 

" To-morrow, God grant, we shall rest after finishing the 

" I would rather have the Swedes than this tediousness I 
Lord ! O Lord ! when wilt Thou give peace to this Com- 
monwealth, and to Zagloba a warm place at the stove and 
heated beer, even without cream ? Batter along, old man, on 
your nag, batter along, till you batter your body to death. 
Has any one there snuff? Maybe I could sneeze out 
this sleepiness through my nostrils. The moon is shining 
through my mouth, looking into my stomach, but I can- 
not tell what the moon is looking for there ; it will find 
nothing. I repeat, to the dogs with such warfare ! " 

" Tf Uncle thinks that the moon is cheese, then eat it, 
Uncle," said Roh Kovalski. 

" If I should eat you I might say that I had eaten beef; 
but 1 am afraid that after such a roast I should lose the 
rest of my wit." 

** If I am an ox and Uncle is my uncle, then what is 
Uncle ? " 

"But, you fool, do you think that Althea gave birth to" a 
firebrand because she sat by the stove ? " 

" How does that toucli ine ? " 

" Li this way. If you are an ox, then ask about your 
father first, not about your uncle: for a bull carried off 
Europa, but her brother, who was uncle to her children, 
was a man for all thai. Do you understand ? " 

" To tell the truth, I do not ; but as to eating I could eat 
something myself." 

" Eat the devil and let me sleep ! What is it, Pan 
Michael ? Why have we halted ? " 

" Varka is in sight," answered Volodyovski. " See, the 
church tower is gleaming in the moonlight." 

" But liave we passed Magnushev ? " 

" Magnushev is behind on the right. It is a wonder to 


me that there is no Swedish party on this side of the river. 
Let us go to those thickets and stop ; perhaps God may send 
us some informant." 

Pan Michael led his detachment to the thicket, and dis- 
posed it about a Imndred yards from the road on each side, 
ordering the men to remain silent, and hold the bridles 
(closely so the horses might not neigh. 

** Wait," said he. " Let us hear what is being done on 
the. other side of the river, and perhaps we mav see some- 

They stood there waiting ; but for a long time nothing 
was to be heard. The wearied soldiers began to nod in the 
saddles. Zagloba dropped on the horse's neck and fell 
asleep ; even the horses were slumbering. An hour passed. 
The accurate ear of Volodyovski heard something like the 
tread of a horse on a £rm road. 
. " Hold ! silence ! " said he to the soldiers. 

He pushed out himself to the edge of the thicket, and 
looked along the road. The road was gleaming in the 
moonlight like a silver ribbon ; there was nothing visible 
on it, still the sound of horses came nearer. 

** They are coming surely ! " said Volodyovski. 

All held their horses more closely, each one restmining 
his breath. Meanwhile on the road appeared a Swedish 
party of thirty horsemen. They rode slowly and carelessly 
enough, not in line, but in a straggling row. Some of the 
soldiers were talking, others were singing in a low voice ; 
for the night, warm as in ^Fay, acted on the ardent souls 
of the soldiers. Without suspicion they passed near Pan 
Michael, who was standing so hard by the edge of the 
thicket that he could catch the odor of horses and the 
smoke of pipes wliicli the soldiers had lighted. 

At last thev vanislied at the turn of the road. Volod- 
yovski waited till tlie tramp had died in the distance ; then 
only did he go to his men and say to Van Yan and Pan 
Stanislav, — 

" Let us drive them now, like geese, to the camp of the 
castellan. Not a man must escape, lest he give warning." 

*^ Tf Charnyetski does not let us eat then and sleep," said 
Zagloba, "I will resign his service and return to Sapyo. 
With Sapyo, when there is a battle, there is a battle ; but 
when there is a respite, there is a feast. If you had four 
lips, he would give each one of them enough to do. He is 
the leader for me ! And in truth tell me by what devil are 


we not serving with Sapyo, since this regiment belongs to 
him by right?" 

<< Father, do not blaspheme against the greatest warrior 
in the Commonwealth," said Pan Yan. 

<< It is not I that blaspheme, but my entrails, on which 
hunger is playing, as on a fiddle — " 

"The Swedes will dance to the music," interrupted 
Volodyovski. " Now, gentlemen, let us advance quickly ! 
I should like to come up with them exactly at that inn in 
the forest which we passed in coming hither." 

A.nd he led on the squadron quickly, but not too quickly. 
They rode into a dense forest in which darkness enclosed 
them. The inn was less than two miles distant. When 
Volodyovski had drawn near, he went again at a walk, so 
as not to alarm the Swedes too soon. When not more than 
a cannon-shot away, the noise of men was heard. 

"They are there and making an uproar!" said Pan 

The Swedes had, in fact, stopped at the inn, looking for 
some living person to give information. But the place was 
empty. Some of the soldiers were shaking up the main 
building ; others were looking in the cow-house, in the shed, 
or raising the thatch on the roof. One half of the men re- 
mained on the square holding the horses of those who were 

P<an Michael's division approached within a hundred yards, 
and began to surround the inn with a Tartar crescent. 
Those of the Swedes standing in front heard perfectly, and 
at last saw men and horses ; since, however, it was dark in 
the forest they could not see what kind of troops were com- 
ing ; but they were not alarmed in the least, not admitting 
that others than Swedes could come from that point. At 
last the movement of the crescent astonished and disturbed 
them. They called at once to those who were in the 

Suddenly a shout of " Allah I " was heard, and the sound 
of shots. In one moment dark crowds of soldiers appeared 
as if they had grown out of the earth. Now came confu- 
sion, a flash of sabres, oaths, smothered shouts ; but the 
whole affair did not last longer than the time needed to say 
the Lord's Prayer twice. 

There remained on the ground before the inn five bodies 
of men and horses ; Volodyovski moved on, taking with 
him twenty-five priaoners. 


Thev advanced at a gallop, urging the Swedish horses 
with tne sides of their sabres, and arrived at Magnushev at 
daybreak. In Charnyetski's camp no one was sleeping ; all 
were ready. The castellan himself came out leaning on his 
staff, thin and pale from watching. 

"How is it?" asked he of Pan Michael. "Have you 
many informants ? " 

*' Twenty-five prisoners." 

" Did many escape ? " 

" All are taken." 

" Only send you, soldier, even to hell ! Well done ! Take 
them at once to the torture, I will examine them." 

Then the castellan turned, and when departing said, — 

" But be in readiness, for perhaps we may move on the 
enemy without delay." 

" How is that ? " asked Zagloba. 

"Be quiet ! " said VolOdyovski. 

The prisoners, without being burned, told in a moment 
what they knew of the forces of the markgraf, — how many 
cannons he had, what infantry and cavalry. Charnyetski 
grew somewhat thoughtful ; for he learned that it was really 
a newly levied army, but formed of the oldest soldiers, who 
had taken part in God knows how many wars. There were 
also many Germans among them, and a considerable division 
of French ; the whole force exceeded that of the Poles by 
several hundred. But it appeared from the statements of 
the prisoners that the markgraf did not even admit that 
Charnyetski was near, and believed that the Poles were be- 
sieging Karl Gustav with all their forces at Sandomir. 

The castellan had barely heard this when he sprang up 
£^nd cried to his attendant : " Vitovski, give command to 
sound the trumpet to horse ! " 

Half an hour later the army moved and marched in the 
fresh spring morning through forests and fields covered with 
dew. At last Varka — or rather its ruins, for the place 
had been burned almost to the ground six years before — 
appeared on the horizon. 

Charnyetski 's troops were marching over an open flat ; 
therefore they could not be concealed from the eyes of the 
Swedes. In fact they were seen ; but the markgraf thought 
that they were various " parties " which had combined in a 
body with the intent of alarming the camp. 

Only when squadron after squadron, advancing at a trot, 
appeared from beyond the forest, did p- feverish activity 

VOL. II. — 27 


rise in the Swedish camp. Charnyetski's men saw smaller 
divisions of horsemen and single officers hurrying between 
the regiments. The bright-colored Swedish infantry began 
to pour into the middlfe of the plain ; the regiments formed 
one after another before the eyes of the Poles and were 
numerous, resembling a flock of many-colored birds. Over 
their heads were raised toward the sun quadrangles of 
strong spears with which the infantry shielded themselves 
against attacks of cavalry. Finally, were seen crowds of 
Swedish armored cavalry advancing at a trot along the wings ; 
the artillery was drawn up and brought to the front in haste. 
All the preparations, all the movements were as visible as 
something on the palm of the hand, for the sun had risen 
clearly, splendidly, and lighted up the whole country. 

The Pilitsa separated the two armies. 

On the Swedish bank trumpets and kettle-drums were 
heard, and the shouts of soldiers coming with all speed 
into line. Charnyetski ordered also to sound the crooked 
trumpets, and advanced with his squadrons toward the 

^ Then he rushed with all the breath of his horse to the 
Vansovich squadron, which was nearest the Pilitsa. 
.' "Old soldier!" cried he to Vansovich, "advance for me 
to the bridge, there dismount and to muskets ! Let all their 
fprce be turned on you ! Lead on ! '' 

• Vansovich merely flushed a little from desire, and waved 
his baton. The men shouted and shot after him like a 
cloud of dust driven by wind. 

When they came within three hundred yards of the 
bridge, they slackened the speed of their horses ; then two 
thirds of them sprang from the saddles and advanced on a 
run to the bridge. 

But the Swedes came from the other side ; and soon mus- 
kets began to play, at first slowly, then every moment more 
briskly, as if a thousand flails were beating irregularly on 
a barn-floor. Smoke stretched over the river. Shouts of 
encouragement were thundering from one and the other 
command The minds of both armies were bent to the 
bridge, which was wooden, narrow, difficult to take, but 
easy to defend. Still over this bridge alone was it possible 
to cross to the Swedes. 

A quarter of an hour later Charnyetski pushed forward 
Lyubomirski's dragoons to the aid of Vansovich. 

But the Swedes now attacked the opposite front with 


artillery. They drew up new pieces one after another, and 
bombs began to fly with a howl over the heads of Vanso- 
vich's men and the dragoons, to fall in the meadow and 
dig into the earth, scattering mud and turf on those 

The markgraf, standing near the forest in the rear of the 
army, watched the battle through a field-glass. From time 
to time he removed the glass from his eyes, looked at 
his staff, shrugged his shoulders and said with astonish- 
ment : " They have gone mad ; they want absolutely to force 
the bridge. A few guns and two or three regiments might 
defend it against a whole army." 

Vansovich advanced still more stubbornly with his men ; 
hence the defence grew still more resolute. The bridge 
became the central point of the battle, toward which 
the whole Swedish line was approaching and concentrat- 
ing. An hour later the entire Swedish order of battle 
was changed, and they stood with flank to their former 
position. The bridge was simply covered with a rain 
of fire and iron. Vansovich's men were falling thickly; 
meanwhile orders came more and more urgent to ad- 
vance absolutely. 

" Charnyetski is murdering those men ! " cried Lyubo* 
mirski on a sudden. 

Vitovski, as an experienced soldier, saw that evil was 
happening, and his whole body quivered with impatience ; 
at last he could endure no longer. Spurring his horse till 
the beast groaned piteously, he rushed to Charnyetski, who 
(luring all this time, it was unknown why, was pushing men 
toward the river. 

"Your grace,'' cried Vitovski, "blood is flowing for 
nothing ; we cannot carry that bridge ! " 

" I do not want to carry it ! " answered Charnyetski. 

" Then what does your grace want ? What must we do ? " 

" To the river with the squadrons ! to the river ! And 
you to your place!" 

Here Charnyetski's eyes flashed such lightnings that 
Vitovski withdrew without saying a word. 

Meanwhile the squadrons had come within twenty paces 
of the bank, and stood in a long line parallel with the bed 
of the river. None of the officers or the soldiers had the 
slightest suspicion of what they were doing. 

In a flash Charnyetski appeared like a thunderbolt 
before the front of the squadrons. There was fire in his 


face, lightning in his eyes. A sharp wind had raised the 
burka on his shoulders so that it was like strong wings ; his 
horse sprang and reared, easting fire from his nostrils. 
The castellan dropped his sword on its j)endant, took 
the cap from his head, and with hair erect shouted to his 
division, — 

" Gentlemen I the enemy defends himself with this 
water, and jeers at us I He has sailed through the sea to 
crush our fatherland, and he thinks that we in defence of it 
cannot swim through this river I '' 

Here he hurled his cap to the earth, and seizing his sabre 
pointed with it to the swollen waters. Enthusiasm bore 
him away, for he stood in the saddle and shouted more 
mightily still, — 

*• To whom Grod, faith, fatherland, are all, follow 
me ! " 

And pressing the horse with the spurs so that the steed 
sprang as it were into space, he rushed into the river. The 
wave plashed around him; man and horse were hidden 
under water, but they rose in the twinkle of an eye. 

" After my master ! '' cried Mihalko, the same who had 
covered himself with glory at Rudnik; and he sprang 
into the water. 

" After me ! " shouted Volodvovski, with a shrill but 
thin voice ; and he sprang in l)efore he had finished 

" Jesus ! Mary ! " bellowed Zagloba, raising his 
horse for the leap. 

With that an avalanche of men and horses dashed into the 
river, so that it struck both banks with wild impetus. 
After the Lauda squadron went Vishnyevetski^s, then Vitov- 
ski\s, then Stapkovski's, after that all the others. Such a 
frenzy seized the men that the squadrons crowded one another 
in emulation; the shouts of command were mingled witli 
the roar of the soldiers ; the river overflowed the banks and 
foamed itself into milk in a moment. The current l)ore the 
regiments down somewhat; but the horses, pricked with 
spurs, swam like a countless herd of dolphins, snorting and 
groaning. They filled the river to such a degree that the 
mass of heads of horses and riders formed as it were a 
bridge on which a man might have passed with dry foot to 
the other bank. 

Chamyetski swam over first; but before the water 
had dropped from him the Lauda squadron had foUc^w^ 

THE DELUGft. 421 

him to lahd; then he waved his baton, and cried to 
Volodyovski, — 

" On a gallop ! Strike ! " 

And to the Vishnyevetski squadron under Shahdarovski, — 

" With them ! " 

And so he sent the squadrons one after another, till he 
had sent all. He stood at the head of the last himself, 
and shouting, " In the name of God ! with luck ! " followed 
the others. 

Two regiments of Swedish cavalry posted in reserve saw 
what was happening ; but such amazement had seized the 
colonels that before they could move from their tracks the 
Lauda men, urging their horses to the highest speed, and 
sweeping with irresistible force, struck the first regiment, 
scattered that, as a whirlwind scatters leaves, hurled it 
against the second, brought that to disorder ; then Shanda- 
rovski came up, and a terrible slaughter began, but of short 
duration ; after a while the Swedish ranks were broken, and 
a disordered throng plunged forward toward the main army. 

Charnyetski's squadron pursued them with a fearful 
outcry, slashing, thrusting, strewing the field with corpses. 

At last it was clear why Charnyetski had commanded 
Vansovich to carry the bridge, though he had no thought of 
crossing it. The chief attention of the whole army had 
been concentrated on that point ; therefore no one defended, 
or had time to defend, the river itself. Besides nearly all 
the artillery and the entire front of the Swedish army was 
turned toward the bridge ; and now when three thousand 
cavalry were rushing with all impetus against the flank of 
that army, it was needful to change the order of battle, to 
form a new front, to defend themselves even well or ill 
against the shock. Now rose a terrible haste and confu- 
sion ; infantry and cavalry regiments turned with all speed 
t<j face the enemy, straining themselves in their hurry, 
knocking one against another, not understanding commands 
in the uproar, acting independently. In vain did the 
officers make superhuman efforts; in vain did the mark- 
^raf move straightway the regiments of cavalry posted at 
the forest ; before they came to any kind of order, before 
tiie infantry could put the butt ends of their lances in the 
ground to hold the points to the enemy, the Lauda 
squadron fell, like the spirit of death, into the very 
midst of their ranks ; after it a second, a third, a fourth, a 
fifth, ahd a sixth squadron. Then began the day of 


judgment ! The smoke of musketry fire covered, as if 
with a cloud, the whole scene of conflict ; and in that cloud 
screams, seething, unearthly voices of despair, shouts of 
triumph, the sharp clang of steel, as if in an infernal forge, 
the rattling of muskets ; at times a flag shone and fell in 
the smoke ; then the gilded point of a regimental banner, 
and again you saw nothing ; but a roar was heard more and 
more terrible, as if the earth had broken on a sudden un- 
der the river, and its waters were tumbling down into 
fathomless abysses. 

Now on the flank other sounds were heard. Tliis was Van- 
sovicli, who had crossed the bridge and wa.s marching on the 
new flank of the enemy. After this the battle did not last long. 

Fi*oni out that cloud large groups of men began to push, 
and run toward the forest in disorder, wild, without caps, 
without helmets, without armor. Soon after them burst 
out a whole flood of people in the most dreadful disorder. 
Artillery, infantry, cavalry mingled together fled toward 
the forest at random, in alarm and terror. Some soldiers 
cried in sky-piercing voices ; others fled in silence, covering 
their heads with their hands. Some in their haste threw away 
their clothing; others stopped those running ahead, fell 
down themselves, trampled one another; and right there be- 
hind them, on their shoulders and heads, rushed a line of 
Polish cavaliers. Every moment you saw whole ranks of 
them spurring their horses and rushing into the densest 
throngs of men. No one defended liimself longer ; all went 
under the sword. Body fell upon body. The Poles hewed 
without rest, without mercy, on the whole plain ; along the 
bank of the river toward the forest, as far as the eye could 
reach you saw merely pursued and pursuing ; only here and 
there scattered groups of infantry offered an irregular, 
despairing resistance ; the cannons were silent. The battle 
ceased to be a battle ; it had turned into a slaughter. 

All that part of the army which fled toward the forest 
was cut to pieces ; only a few squadrons of Swedish troopers 
entered it. After them the light squadrons of Poles sprang 
in among the trees. 

But in the forest peasants were waiting for that unslain 
remnant, — the peasants who at the sound of the battle had 
rushed together from all the surrounding villages. 

The most terrible pursuit, however, continued on the road 
to Warsaw, along which the main forces of the Swedes 
were fleeing. The young Markgraf Adolph struggled twice 


to cover the retreat ; but beaten twice, he fell into captiv- 
ity himself. His auxiliary division of French infantry, 
(composed of four hundi'ed men, threw away their arms ; 
three thousand chosen soldiers, musketeers and cavalry, 
Hod as far as Muishev. The musketeers were cut down in 
Mnishev; the cavalry were pursued toward Chersk, until 
they were scattered completely through the forest, reeds, 
and brush ; there the peasants hunted them out one by 
one on the morrow. 

Before the sun had sut, the army of Friederich, Markgraf 
of Baden, had ceased to exist. 

On the first scene of battle there remained only the 
standard-bearers with their standards, for all the troops had 
followed the enemy. And the sun was well inclined to its 
setting when the first bodies of cavalry began to appear 
from the side of the forest and Mnishev. They returned with 
singing and uproar, hurling their caps in the air, firing from 
pistols. Almost all led with them crowds of bound prisoners. 
Those walked at the sides of the horses they were without, 
caps, without helmets, with heads drooping on their breasts, 
torn, bloody, stumbling every moment against the bodies of 
fallen comrades. The field of battle presented a terrible 
sight. In places, where the struggle had been fiercest, 
there lay simply piles of bodies half a spear-length in height. 
Some of the infantry still held in their stiffened hands long 
spears. The whole ground was covered with spears. In 
places they were sticking still in the earth ; here and there 
pieces of them formed as it were fences and pickets. But on 
all sides was presented mostly a dreadful and pitiful mingling 
of bodies, of men mashed with hoofs, broken muskets, 
drums, trumpets, caps, belts, tin boxes which the infantry 
carried ; hands and feet sticking out in such disorder from 
the piles of bodies that it was difficult to tell to what body 
they belonged. In those places specially where the infantry 
defended itself whole breastworks of corpses were lying. 

Somewhat farther on, near the river, stood the artillery, 
now cold, some pieces overturned by the onrush of men, 
others as it were ready to be fired. At the sides of them lay 
the cannoneers now held in eternal sleep. Many bodies 
were hanging across the gims and embracing them with 
their arms, as if those soldiers wished still to defend 
them after death. The brass, spotted with blood and brains, 
glittered with ill omen in the beams of the setting sun. The 
golden rays were reflected in stiffened blood, which here and 


there formed little lakes. Its nauseating odor wajs mingled 
over the whole field with the smell of powder, the exhalation 
from bodies, and the sweat of horses. 

Before the setting of the sun Charnyetski returned with 
the king's regiment, and stood in the middle of the field. 
The troops greeted him with a thundering shout. When- 
ever a detachment came up it cheered without end. He stood 
in the rays of the sun, wearied beyond measure, but all 
radiant, with bare head, his sword hanging on his belt, and 
he answered to every cheer, — 

'' Not to me, gentlemen, not to me, but to the name of 
God I " 

At his side were Vitovski and Lyubomirski, the latter as 
bright as the sun itself, for he was in gilded plate armor, 
his face splashed with blood ; for he had worked terribly and 
labored with his own hand as a simple soldier, but discon- 
tented and gloomy, for even his own regiments shouted, — 

" Vivat Charnyetski, dux et victor (commander and con- 
queror) ! " 

Envy began then to dive into the soul of the marshal. 

Meanwhile new divisions rolled in from every side of the 
field ; each time an officer came up and threw a banner, cap- 
tured from the enemy, at Charnyetski's feet. At sight of 
this rose new shouts, new cheers, hurling of caps into tbid 
air, and the firing of pistols. 

The sun was sinking lower and lower. 

Then in the one church that remained after the fire in 
Varka they sounded the Angelus ; that moment all uncovered 
their heads. Father Pyekarski, the company priest, began 
to intone: "The Angel of the Lord announced unto the 
Most Holy Virgin Mary ! " and a thousand iron breasts 
answered at once, with deep voices : " And she conceived of 
the Holy Ghost ! " 

All eyes were raised to the heavens, which were red with 
the evening twilight ; and from that bloody battle-field began 
to rise a pious hymn to the light playing in the sky before 

Just as they had ceased to sing, the Lauda squadron began 
to come up at a trot ; it had chased the enemy farthest The 
soldiers threw more banners at Charnyetski's feet. He 
rejoiced in heart, and seeing Volodyovski, urged his horse 
toward him and asked, — 

" Have many of them escaped ? " 

Pan Michael shook his head as a sigh that not many had 


i^oapcfd, but lie ^vo^ 1ek> near being breathless that hie was un- 
able to utter one word ; he merely gasped with open tiiouth, 
time after time, so that his breast was heaving. At last 
he pointed to his lips, as a sign that he could not speak. 
Ghamyetski understood him and pressed his head. 

" He has toiled ! " said he ; " God grant us more such." 

Zagloba hurried to catch his breath, and said, with chatter- 
ing teeth and broken voice, — 

" For God's sake ! The cold wind is blowing on me, and I 
am all in a sweat. Paralysis will strike me. Pull the 
clothes off some fat Swede and give them to me, for every- 
thing on me is wet, — wet, and it is wet in this place. I 
know not what is water, what is my own sweat, and what is 
Swedish blood. If I have ever expected in my life to cut 
down so many of those scoundrels, I am not fit to be the 
crupper of a saddle. The greatest victory of this war ! But 
I will not spring into water a second time. Eat not, drink 
not, sleep not, and then a bath ! I have had enough in my 
old years. My hand is benumbed; paralysis has struck 
me already ; gorailka, for the dear God ! " 

Charnyetski, hearing this, and seeing the old man really 
covered completely with the blood of the enemy, took pity 
on his age and gave him his own canteen. 

Zagloba raised it to his mouth, and after a while returned 
it empty ; then he said, — 

" I have gulped so much water in the Pilitsa, that we shall 
soon see how fish will hatch in my stomach ; but that gorailka 
is better than water." 

" Dress in other clothes, even Swedish," said Charnyetski. 

*' I '11 find a big Swede for Uncle ! " said Roh. 

" Why should I have bloody clothes from a corpse ? " said 
25agloba; " take off everything to the shirt from that general 
whom I captured." 

" Have you taken a general ? " asked Charnyetski, with 

"Whom have 1 not taken, whom have I not slain?" 
answered Zagloba. 

Now Volodyovski recovered speech : " We have taken the 
younger markgraf, Adolph; Count Falckenstein, General 
Wegier, General Poter Benzij, not counting inferior 

" But the Markgraf Priederich ? " asked Charnyetski. 

" If he has not fallen here, he has escaped to the forest; 
but if he has escaped, the peasants will kill him." 

426 THE DEri'GE. 

Volodyovski was mistaken in his previsions. The Mark- 
graf Friederich with Counts Schlippenbach and Ehrenhain, 
wandering through the forest, made their way in the night 
to Chersk; after sitting there in the ruined castle three 
days and nights in hunger and cold, they wandered by night 
to Warsaw. That did not save them from captivity after- 
ward ; this time, however, they escaped. 

It Wtis niglit wlien Charnyetski came to Varka from the 
field. Tliat was perhaps tlie gladdest night of his life, for 
such a great disaster the Swedes had not suffered since 
the beginning of the war. All tlie artillery, all the flags, all 
the officers, except the chief, were captured. The army was 
cut to pieces, driven to the four winds ; the remnants of it 
were forced to fall victims to bands of peasants. But 
besides, it was shown that those Swedes who held themselves 
invincible could not stand before regular Polish squadrons 
in the open field. Charnyetski understood at last what a 
mighty result this victory would work in the whole Com- 
mcmwealth, — how it would raise courage, how it would 
rouse enthusiasm ; he saw already the whole Commonwealth, 
in no distant future, free from oppression, triumphant. Per- 
haps, too, he saw with the eyes of his mind the gilded baton 
of the grand hetman on the sky. 

He was permitted to dream of this, for he had advanced 
toward it as a true soldier, as a defender of his country, and 
he was of those who grow not from salt nor from the soil, 
but from that which pains them. 

Meanwhile he could hardly embrace with his whole soul 
the joy which flowed in upon him ; therefore he turned to 
Lyubomirski, riding at his side, and said, — 

" Now to Sandomir ! to Sandomir with all speed ! Since 
tjie army knows now how to swim rivers, neither the San 
nor the Vistula will frighten us ! " 

Lyubomirski said not a word ; but Zagloba, riding a little 
apart in Swedish uniform, permitted himself to say aloud, — 

" Go where you like, but without me, for I am not a 
weathercock to turn night and day without food or sleep.*' 

Charnyetski was so rejoiced that he was not only not an- 
gry, but he answered in jest, — 

"You are more like the belfry than the weathercock, 
since, as I see, you have sparrows in your head. But as to 
eating and rest it belongs to all." 

To which Zagloba said, but in an undertone: "Whoso 
has a beak on his face has a sparrow on his mind." 



After that victory Charnyetski permitted at last the 
array to take breath and feed the wearied horses ; then he 
was to return to Sandomir by forced marches, and bend the 
King of Sweden to his fall. 

Meanwhile Kharlamp came to the camp one evening 
with news from Sapyeha. Charnyetski was at Chersk, 
whither he had gone to review the general militia assem- 
bled at that town. Kharlamp, not finding the chief, betook 
himself at once to Pan Michael, so as to rest at his quarters 
after the long journey. 

His friends greeted him joyously ; but he, at the very be- 
ginning, showed them a gloomy face and said, — 

" I have heard of your victory. Fortune smiled here, but 
bore down on us in Sandomir. Karl Gustav is no longer 
in the sack, for he got out, and, besides, with great confu- 
sion to the Lithuanian troops.'* 

" Can that be ? " cried Pan Michael, seizing his head. 

Pan Yan, Pan Stanislav, and Zagloba were as if fixed to 
the earth. 

" How was it ? Tell, by the living God, for I cannot 
stay in my skin ! " 

" Breath fails me yet," said Kharlamp ; " T have ridden 
day and night, I am terribly tired. Charnyetski will come, 
then I will tell all from the beginning. Let me now draw 
breath a little." 

" Then Karl has gone out of the sack. I foresaw that, 
did I not? Do you not remember that I prophesied it? 
Let Kovalski testify." 

" Uncle foretold it," said Roh. 

** And whither has Karl gone ? " asked Pan Michael. 

" The infantry sailed down in boats ; but he, with cavalry, 
has gone along the Vistula to Warsaw." 

" Was there a battle ? " 

" There was and there was not. In brief, give me peace, 
for I cannot talk." 

*' But tell me one thing. Is Sapyeha crushed altogether ? ' ■ 


" How crushed ! He is pursuing the king ; but of course 
Sapyeha will never come up with anybody." 

'' He is as good at pursuit as a German at fasting," said 

" Praise be to God for even this, that the army is intact ! " 
put in Volodyovski. 

" The Lithuanians have got into trouble ! " said Zagloba. 
** Ah, it is a bad case ! Again we must watch a hole in the 
Commonwealth together." 

*' Say nothing against the Lithuanian army," said Khar- 
lamp. "Karl Gustav is a great warrior, and it is no 
wonder to lose against him. And did not you, from Poland, 
lose at Uistsie, at Volbor, at Suleyov, and in ten other 
places ? Charnyetski himself lost at Golembo. Why 
should not Sapyeha lose, especially when you left him 
alone like an orphan ? " 

" But why did we go to a dance at Varka ? " asked 
Zagloba, with indignation. 

" I know that it was not a dance, but a battle, and God gave 
you the victory. But who knows, perhaps it had been better 
not to go ; for among us they say that the troops of both 
nations (Lithuanian and Poland) may be beaten separately, 
but together the cavalry of hell itself could not manage them." 

" That may be," said Volodyovski ; " but what the leaders 
have decided is not for us to discuss. This did not happen, 
either, without your fault." 

" Sapyo must have blundered ; I know him ! " said Zagloba. 

" I cannot deny that," muttered Kharlamp. 

They were silent awhile, but from time to time looked at 
one another gloomily, for to them it seemed that the fortune 
of the Commonwealth was beginning to sink, and yet such 
a short time before they were